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Exclusive: Peter Navarro Exposes the China Apologists Inside The Trump Administration
Navarro explains how Jared Kushner & Steven Mnuchin went soft on China
Note: Peter Navarro served as the Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy in the Trump White House. This article is adapted from his new book Taking Back Trump’s America: Why We Lost the White House and How We’ll Win It Back (Bombardier).
It is not like Jared Kushner is hiding what he did. He openly boasts about how he — and a coterie of unregistered foreign lobbyists from Wall Street — effectively scuttled successful trade negotiations with Communist China.
In Kushner’s view, the compromise “Phase One” trade deal signed by President Trump with Communist China in January 2020 in the East Wing of the White House was a “massive victory” for America. In fact, this deal — which very quickly and derisively became known as the “Skinny Deal” — was a pale shadow of the one the United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and I had worked so hard on. And, as I sternly warned at that time, even with this Skinny Deal, the Communist Chinese would never meet their obligations — and they never did.
The problem that Lighthizer and I always faced in the West Wing trying to take a tough trade position — whether on China or NAFTA or whatever — was the back channeling of both Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Kushner-Mnuchin backchanneling was (in part) with their Wall Street handlers like Steve Schwarzman and John Thornton. And with Communist China, both Kushner and Mnuchin would directly contact the Chinese negotiators themselves, often without disclosing their communications in a timely way to Lighthizer, myself, or the other member of the West Wing’s trade team, Wilbur Ross.
The practical result of this Kushner-Mnuchin backchanneling was to severely weaken our negotiating positions. This was true whether it was with the Chinese on tariffs, or with the Mexicans or Canadians on NAFTA or steel tariffs.
To be clear here, the Trump White House had only one Trade Representative confirmed by the Senate — and only one Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy in the White House. Trade was our turf, and Lighthizer should have been both the unquestioned czar and quarterback leading the Trump show. Yet Mnuchin and Kushner not only constantly intruded on the trade issue — they both thought they had more authority on this issue than either Lighthizer or myself, as well as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
Just think about such Kushner-Mnuchin backchanneling for a minute: a rug merchant like BlackRock’s Steve Schwarzman (who they regularly used as an intermediary) stood to gain tens of billions of dollars with his company’s investments in Communist China if he could simply stop Donald Trump from imposing tough tariffs on the Chinese.
Yet, this is one of the main guys that Kushner and Mnuchin relied on.
In fact, such backchanneling is obscene on his face. What these Wall Street “go-betweens” did seems to be the very definition of foreign lobbying. Yet I have never seen people like Steve Schwartzman or Larry Fink or John Thorton register as foreign lobbyists as the law would seemingly dictate.
Just why were Mnuchin and Kushner so adamant about blocking a tough China policy? After battling these two Wall Street Transactionalists for four full years in the White House, and then seeing each of them cash in on their connections after their government service (and I use the term “service” loosely) it is pretty damn clear these New York liberals were simply building their own networks of potential foreign investors for the next stages of their entrepreneurial lives — and doing so by selling out American jobs.
The other thing that was so unsettling about Kushner was his naïve bromance with Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State for Richard Nixon. Kushner openly confesses that he “leaned on [the] wisdom, knowledge, and graciousness” of Kissinger who was, in truth, a senile old man who long ago sold his soul to the Chinese Communist devil — and who sold out American workers and American national security interests in the process.
History needs to be clear about this: after helping Nixon open Communist China during the Nixon years (while abandoning South Vietnam), Kissinger proceeded to make a large fortune helping the Communists gain footholds and inroads into the US economy and political system. Perhaps that is the most important lesson Kushner took away from Kissinger — how to successfully grift after government life.
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