On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration is mulling a series of options to restrict capital flows to China.
Those proposals include, but are apparently not limited to, delisting Chinese equities from US exchanges, compelling US firms to limit inclusion in indexes and capping investment via government pension funds.
Analysts and economists were quick to suggest that the consequences of any such push would be dire – words like “disastrous” and ludicrous” were bandied about.
There was more than a little speculation that the Trump administration might have intentionally leaked the story in order to secure leverage ahead of the next round of trade negotiations, which begin on October 10.
Well, on Monday, Peter Navarro showed up on CNBC to talk about the story and much as Stephen Miller lived up to his villainous reputation during a Sunday chat with Fox’s Chris Wallace, Peter Navarro did his own dubious reputation proud.
Asked by Joe Kernen whether a move to restrict capital flows would help or hurt the negotiations with Beijing, Navarro accused Bloomberg of shoddy reporting. In fact, he called the story an example of “highly inaccurate”, “irresponsible journalism”.
“That story, which appeared in Bloomberg: I’ve read it far more carefully than it was written”, Navarro said, adding that “over half of it was highly inaccurate or simply flat-out false”.
Over the weekend, Treasury denied that any move to restrict US listings by Chinese firms was imminent, but did not speak to the veracity of the other proposals Bloomberg said are under consideration. Reuters reported that Nasdaq has, in fact, been “cracking down on initial public offerings of small Chinese companies by tightening restrictions and slowing down their approval”.
“It was really irresponsible journalism and the problem we have here … these bad stories push out the good”, Navarro went on to tell CNBC, before suggesting that Bloomberg was attempting to stir the echo chamber. “And what happens is as soon as Bloomberg puts it out there, there’s pressure from others to put it out there”.
But that wasn’t the shocker in Navarro’s CNBC interview. The worst bit came when the network’s Kayla Tausche attempted to get a word in, and Peter went full-Don Draper misogynist, holding up his hand and advising Tausche to “just stop”.
Note her response. “Wow”.
Yes, “wow”. Peter Navarro is bullying women live on television in the course of calling the most reputable financial media outlet on the planet (Bloomberg) “fake news”.
And it got worse, if you can believe it. Watch this:
The look on “Kayla, Kayla”‘s face as Navarro talks to her like he’s auditioning for a role in a Mad Men spinoff is priceless. We’ve immortalized it in a looped .gif.
As CNBC rather dryly notes, “despite claiming that over half of the original Bloomberg story was inaccurate, Navarro refrained from disputing any specific claim within the report”.
This is hardly the first time Navarro has acted irresponsibly on television. Last year, for example, Peter falsely accused management teams at Harley-Davidson and General Motors of misleading shareholders about the deleterious effects of the tariffs. Harley, Peter said, was “speaking with a forked tailpipe” and GM, he assessed, was “playing into the hands of foreigners”.
Perhaps it’s time Peter gets the Rudy Giuliani treatment.