Peter Navarro: what Trump's Covid-19 tsar lacks in expertise, he makes up - 2020-04-10
The 70-year-old White House trade adviser was first recruited by Trump because he wrote a string of books about the Chinese strategic threat – one called Death by China – despite having spent almost no time in the country and having no grasp of the language.
Five of Navarro's books cited a China hand with a particularly pithy turn of phrase called Ron Vara, who turned out not to exist. The name is an anagram of Navarro and the imaginary expert operated as an alter ego, confirming the author's views.
Navarro made headlines in the past week by challenging Dr Anthony Fauci – the nation's leading immunologist and the public face of the US scientific community's race to contain Covid-19 – in a showdown in the White House situation room over the merits of an experimental drug.
When asked later why he thought he was qualified to start recommending pharmaceuticals to the nation, Navarro replied: "My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I'm a social scientist. I have a PhD. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it's in medicine, the law, economics or whatever."