Peter Navarro is the worst possible person to be in charge of pandemic supplies - 2020-04-09
How badly does the United States need medical supplies? So badly that a Republican White House—which pays obeisance to free market orthodoxy—is deploying the interventionist Defense Production Act (DPA) to force the private sector to snap to it. This exercise of naked executive power during a medical crisis requires someone at the top with an even temper, extensive experience in the private sector, and a deep understanding of the country's supply chains.
So President Trump tapped Peter Navarro for the job.
Dubbed "Trump's looniest economic adviser" by the Wall Street–focused Dealbreaker, Navarro is an academic who famously made up a fake expert to quote in his books. A five-time failed political candidate in San Diego, Navarro is widely known there "as a nut," says one veteran California GOP political consultant. Navarro's views on trade are considered so fringy that, for years, reporters covering him have been trying unsuccessfully to find a credible source who may agree with him. Nonetheless, since 2016, Navarro has been advising Trump on trade policy, first on the campaign trail and then in the White House as the director of the newly created Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. And on March 27, Trump appointed Navarro to enforce the DPA, the Korean War–era law that allows the administration to force a company to prioritize government orders in production.