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Wed Sep 2, 2020, 04:22 PM

Tactics of fiery White House trade adviser draw new scrutiny as some of his pandemic moves unravel

Source: Washington Post

Tactics of fiery White House trade adviser draw new scrutiny as some of his pandemic moves unravel

Peter Navarro has faced an internal investigation into his treatment of colleagues, and now two of his coronavirus-related actions are under internal scrutiny.

By David J. Lynch, Carol D. Leonnig, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey
9/2/2020, 8:42:16 a.m.

Amid the Trump administration’s troubled response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior White House aide Peter Navarro has refashioned himself as a powerful government purchasing chief, operating far beyond his original role as an adviser on trade policy.

But U.S. officials say the abrasive figure’s shortcomings as a manager could influence how well prepared the United States is for a second wave of coronavirus infections expected this fall.

Navarro’s harsh manner and disregard for protocol have alienated numerous colleagues, corporate executives and prominent Republicans. In a previously undisclosed incident, the White House Counsel’s Office in 2018 investigated Navarro’s behavior in response to repeated complaints and found he routinely had been verbally abusive toward others. Navarro narrowly avoided losing his job, but the abuse has continued as the White House has grappled with the pandemic, multiple administration officials said.

On Monday, the administration terminated one contract that Navarro had directly negotiated — for 42,900 Philips ventilators. A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said the cancellation was “subject to internal HHS investigation and legal review.” The contract had been criticized by a House oversight subcommittee, which concluded that the government had overpaid for the ventilators by $500 million.

The cancellation came after another transaction Navarro championed, a government loan to fund Kodak’s transformation into a drugmaker, unraveled and became embroiled in a securities investigation. The watchdog panel says it is broadening its inquiry to examine all of Navarro’s deals.

Navarro remains unbowed, scorning critics inside and outside the White House as disloyal and leaning heavily on his one true ally: President Trump. ...

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/09/02/navarro-pandemic-coronavirus/

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