Unfortunately, Peter Navarro’s vampire-like visage materialized on CNBC Tuesday morning and proceeded to weigh in on the trade truce struck over the weekend in Osaka between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
Peter, you’re reminded, cannot be taken seriously and, in fact, was not taken seriously prior to joining the Trump administration. Navarro is, for lack of a better way to put it, a standing joke in the academic community. There was always something profoundly absurd about letting Peter sit at the table for negotiations with Xi given that Navarro’s claim to fame is a somewhat dubious book/documentary called “Death By China”, which features a Bowie knife with a yuan note wrapped around the handle literally stabbing America in the heart(land) on the cover.
But, Navarro’s unorthodox (and that’s putting it mildly) views on trade line up nicely with Trump’s wrong-headed intuitions and so, here we are.
Navarro’s comments to CNBC were farcical in the extreme. That’s to be expected on trade, but now Peter is weighing in on Fed policy and tossing out Dow targets.
“We had a deal that was over 150 pages long with seven different chapters”, Navarro said of the infamous draft China truce. That’s still “the basis now for moving forward”, he contends.
Pressed by Sara Eisen on why anybody should believe the administration that we won’t end up right back in another stalemate, Navarro explained “This is a very complicated process”.
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As alluded to above (and as you’ll see/hear if you watch the clip), the real highlight of Navarro’s Tuesday interview came when Peter said this:
What’s going to get us to Dow 30,000 and above are gonna be passing the USMCA and having the Fed lower interest rates.
A couple of things on that.
First, if Peter is looking to point the finger at people who have recently done their best to throw a monkey wrench into the ratification process for the USMCA, he might consider looking at the guy in the mirror. If you recall, Navarro (along with Stephen Miller) supported Trump’s decision to threaten Mexico with precisely the kind of tariffs the USMCA is designed to avoid.
Those tariffs were averted, but the fact is, the mere threat further undermined the credibility of the administration. If Trump is willing to threaten tariffs on a country with whom the US has already struck a trade deal, what’s the incentive for negotiating?
Read more about Miller and Navarro’s role in the Mexico tariff standoff
Second, note the language Peter uses when discussing the Fed – “…having the Fed lower interest rates”. Sure, that’s probably just a harmless turn of phrase and it’s not likely Navarro meant anything by it, but it’s still something of a Freudian slip. The White House (let alone a rogue academic who harbors notoriously controversial views about the economy) should not be in the business of “having” the Fed do anything. That suggests coercion.
In any case, it would probably “be best” (to quote the first lady) if networks like CNBC stopped “having” (to quote Navarro) the administration’s trade hawks on their shows, because even when anchors like Eisen push back, it still amounts to giving propagandists another platform to get the word out to the base. They don’t need another megaphone. Fox works just fine for that.