As the federal, state, and local governments scrounge for whatever medical supplies they can during a time of critical shortages, Trump's global trade war still occupies the mind of his top trader adviser Peter Navarro.
Meeting our needs during a pandemic is going to be very difficult if not impossible, but Navarro is advising Trump that he should make it even more difficult by signing an executive order mandating that the government should "Buy American"-made medical supplies.
The Daily Beast reports that other government officials are trying to stop it.
The order being pushed by Navarro, a draft of which was obtained by The Daily Beast, lays out a slew of policies that would ultimately curb the importing of foreign goods and create conditions that would allow for the increased production of American medicines, raw materials, and vaccines. The order is similar in language and tone to Trump’s April 2017 executive order “Buy American Hire American.”
In an interagency meeting last week, representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other trade officials voiced their objections to Navarro, saying the executive order could create more harm than good by restricting the flow of medicines and other supplies needed to treat coronavirus patients, according to two individuals familiar with the conversation, including one with direct knowledge.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and even Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow are reportedly among those who've voiced opposition to Navarro's executive order, but a source who spoke to the Daily Beast says Trump personally encouraged Navarro to draft the order for him.
It's anyone's guess if Trump will fuck the world even harder by signing this order. Our best and probably only hope is that conditions change such that he no longer feels that signing it would benefit him politically. That's the only reason you would consider an order like this in the first place during a global pandemic; because you're playing rhetorical political games.
For his part, I think we can infer that Navarro is primarily concerned that China will manufacture the lion's share of medical supplies the world is going to need over the next year. Navarro, as you may recall, published a series of racist, anti-Chinese screeds under the name Ron Vara; a fictitious professor and Wall Street trader who said you shouldn't eat Chinese food.
I hope my favorite Chinese restaurant is still there when this is over. I used to meet my mother there for dinner.