RPCV White House Advisor Accuses China of Weaponizing the Virus to Kill Americans
Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964-67)
Without providing any proof, Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75) accused China of purposely weaponizing the virus to kill Americans and blasted Dr. Fauci while boasting about himself
By PETER WADE Rollingstone
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75). In an obvious attempt to deflect blame from President Trump’s dismal handling of the coronavirus pandemic in America, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro went on an extended rant on Friday, tossing out unproven conspiracy theories as if he were holding court in a QAnon forum.
Navarro, a now-infamous, bomb-throwing advocate of Trump’s more than suggested that China was somehow able to “weaponize” the virus to kill Americans, while at the same time allowing many other countries to contain the spread.
China “spawned the virus,” Navarro said. “They hid the virus. They sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals over here to seed and spread the virus before we knew.”
This prompted MSNBC host Ali Velshi to ask Navarro the obvious: “What are you talking about?”
Navarro repeated himself and tacked on another layer of conspiracy by including the WHO. “They spawned the virus,” he said. “They hid the virus from the world and the possibility of a pandemic behind the shield of the World Health Organization.”
The president’s advisor also claimed, again without providing any proof, that while China was purposely spreading the virus, “they vacuumed up the world’s protective equipment, including two billion masks.”
Asked if China was acting deliberately, Navarro first said it didn’t matter. But then said they did, and said that his stated “fact” was “beyond reproach.”
“What they deliberately did—and this is beyond reproach in terms of a fact—they deliberately allowed Chinese nationals to come to the United States, Italy and everywhere in between who were infected while they were locking down their own [domestic] transportation network,” he charged.
Navarro also found it suspicious that the virus did not disappear when the season changed as the president has promised many times.
“Everybody thought—and this was a reasonable presumption—that come summer, the heat and humidity would get rid of the virus. It doesn’t look that way. This looks more like a weaponized virus,” Navarro said.
Finally, given the chance to talk about Dr. Fauci’s insistence that Americans follow virus protocols and wear masks, Navarro took the opportunity to one-up the doctor and disparage him for not being on board when Navarro first pitched banning flights from China early this year.
“Let’s talk about Dr. Fauci just as to why he shouldn’t be viewed as the Oracle on this. On January 28, as is now known, I penned a memo which basically warned of a global pandemic from the China virus that could kill possibly millions. That was exactly the same time that the president of these great United States pulled down all the China flights,” Navarro said, adding, “You know who was fighting me in the Situation Room on that? It was Dr. Anthony Fauci. And just in that very same time period and even two a month later, Fauci was telling people that there was nothing to worry about in America.”
Navarro is correct about his early memo on the looming pandemic and his push for a travel ban from China. But according to the New York Times, his claim that Fauci did not agree for months is not true. “On the morning of Jan. 30,” the Times said in a report, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “got a call from Dr. Fauci… and others saying they had changed their minds” about travel restrictions.
Navarro’s blame China rant was a manic 12 minutes of television for sure. But who, other than the president’s most fervent supporters, are buying this kind of theater? The appeal seems limited. But, as Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet and the coronavirus cases continue to rise, maybe there’s nothing left but to entertain the boss. Maybe Navarro’s act was a performance for one. If so, it surely wasn’t a first from too many of the president’s surrogates. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last.
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Shame on you! There should be jail time for public officials like Navarro who lie and put the public at risk. These guys must go. Vote Blue!
I disagree. The First Amendment is so important. The response to misleading the public, is more First Amendment. Peter Wade certainly proves that.
I also think it is important to know what public officials are “thinking” and even, what their motivation might be. Peter Navarro was a Volunteer in Thailand from 1972 and 1975. This was durning Vietnam. Thailand was a major military base during that time. I speculate that Navarro’s long time fear of Chinese aggression may stem from his Peace Corps experience.
Ironically the other “bright shinning conservative star” who is also a RPCV is Charles Murray. He also served in Thailand during the time of Vietnam. I wonder if that means anything. Murray’s most famous book is “The Bell Curve” which argues that intelligence is racially based on genetics. It has been widely discredited by scholars.
Anthony Fauci has been the subject of Republican attacks all this past week. However, I think that his predictions have proven so accurate that the Republicans will look for another line of attack. I fear they may turn to Murray in a relentless effort to support “our culture”, as the product of the “natural superiority of northern Eurpeanans”.
I don’t disagree with Joanne Roll. But the preservation of freedom relies on truth telling. As a American, I have assumed a certain amount of responsibility that accompanies my citizenship. And that means I do not have a “freedom” that allows me to endanger the lives or welfare of others. The courts have placed certain restrictions on speech that incite violence.
Mainstream America complains that demonstrations that are rowdy, with profanity and disruption of public order be unlawful. These protests should be taken to court where order and logical discussion can ascertain the truth. But public officials who claim their accusations are true without proof, have similar effects on the public psyche. If Mr. Navarro were to go to court and accuse me of violating a law, a judge would demand evidence to substantiate his accusations. If and until Mr. Navarro could provide clear evidence, the judge would likely place a gag order on his accusations and tell him to return if and when he had some viable proof. In fact, Joanne Roll actually suggests the danger of publicizing incomplete or inaccurate information as fact, and not as opinion, when she raises Charles Murray’s genetic theory of intelligence.
I suspect that if I, a private citizen, made Navarro’s accusation in public, without substantial evidence, I’d be labeled delusional or a liar. But a judge would likely rule that my claims were harmless and in favor of Joanne’s position. But if I were a public official, say like a Peter Navarro or an internationally renowned health expert like Dr. Anthony Fauci, or a President, then the judge likely would give me a lesson on the responsibilities implicit as a public official.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It means I have to clarify what I said. I begin and end with the First Amendment. Freedom of speech means a citizen can speak and vote their own “truth”, I am not a lawyer nor a philosopher nor a theological. Those are the professions which have been debating “what is truth” for eons. As you stated, Freedom of Speech is restricted to the extent one cannot advocate violence. although that is subject to interpretation. Yelling Fire in a threater when there is not fire is a clear example. If a citizen defames or libels another, that victim has civil remedies. But that is about it.
Public officials cannot lie to Congress, (I am not sure if they are not under oath) the FBI or under oath. There is no law which says they cannot “lie”, or more likely mislead the public. A citizen can not “sue” a public official for “lying,” so it is unlikely that a citizen making that charge would wind up in court.
The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech or of the
press”. When the current occupant of the White House says the information being reported by the free press is “fake news” and they should be horsewhipped. Is that the government attempting to abridge the freedom of the press through intimindation or merely exercising his First Amendment? The remedy is at the polls.
The First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petietion the Government for a redress of grievanvances”. The peaceful protestors are protected by the Firsti Amendment. The criminals who have corrupted the protests have no such protection. They should be charged and jailed.
Finally, in the academic/scientific community there is debate and argument on every topic, research and theory. This is what happened with Murray. The answer to dubious scientific claims is robust refutation.
As for Navarro, you know I just keep wondereing about his motive. Peter Wade does review Navarro’s January memo. Fauci is being attacked all over the right wing media. But Navarro did not choose to go on Fox or Hannity or even Limbaugh to rant against Fauci. He choose MSNBC. I think he knew that his charges would be questioned, refuted, and most of all they would be publcized.
I guess if Elaine Chao (Mrs. Moscow Mitch) has to be called a “former Director of the Peace Corps” this Trump thug has the right to be referred to as an RPCV … but it hurts.
I am ambivalent about Peter Navarro. He alerted the Trump administration in late January about the potential of a pandemic. There is an article in the NYTimes describing what Navarro wrote:
“A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.
The warning, written in a memo by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade adviser, is the highest-level alert known to have circulated inside the West Wing as the administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront a crisis that had already consumed China’s leaders and would go on to upend life in Europe and the United States.
“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Mr. Navarro’s memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”
The memo was ignored except Trump did restrict travel for some people from China. Otherwise Navarro was ignored,
Michael Schmicker (AKA A.A. Maytree) wrote and published a Thailand Peace Corps memoir about his service between 1969 and 1972. I reviewed the book a long time ago but still have my copy because aside from being well-written, it is refreshingly honest about the confusion that overwhelms each of us when our blinders are ripped off in a foreign country. Very few former volunteers describe this well. Schmicker was a journalist and did some clandestine reporting out-of-country. If nothing else, the book is worth the price for his description of using Air America, a notorious C.I.A. front company, while a member of the Peace Corps.
In 2015, I flew to Panama City to be present at my younger son’s swearing-in ceremony. The office there seemed over-staffed and way too comfy. It reminded me of the Coca Cola offices rather than the Peace Corps. The volunteers seemed arrogant, like snotty French neo-colonials. They were all convinced that they knew everything. Forty years before, I remember my group complained about the manaña culture but was so humbled by the Nixon fiasco and the Vietnam War that we more politically street wise and quiet.
Maybe I am just old and enfeebled, with faulty memory. I also had the unusual experience of becoming embroiled in hard-ball local Mexico City politics after the Peace Corps. I got to do everything we couldn’t in 70’s Peace Corps. It was wonderful. I forgot about sainthood and moved to the beatific. Big government and me always did mix like oil and water. Phewy on their group-think. Schmicker had it right way earlier. His book is titled Land if Smiles.
That’s Land OF Smiles. Sorry. My ring finger was doing a rumba while my middle finger was doing the tango.
Thailand, Thailand, Thailand, It is truly bewildering. I could not find any book by Michael Schmicker entitled “Land of Smiles”. Yet, Schmichker is listed in the most current list of RPCV Authors., by John Coyne. There is a book by Michael R. Macleod, a Peace Corps memoir of Thailand, entitled “Footprints in the Mud” and it was reviewed by you on Peace Corps World Wide. But the name Michael R. Macleod does not appear in the current list of RPCV Authors.
More luck with your acute observation you wrote the Peace Corps office in Panama looked as if it were peopled by Coca Cola staff. In 2012, Peace Corps signed a MOU with Coca Cola. You may well have been looking at real Coca Cola people in the Peace Corps office.
Try A.A. Maytree- his nom de plume.
As mentioned in my above post, If anybody wonders why it hurts to refer to Elaine Chao as the former Director of the Peace Corps… This from today’s date on Newsweek.com should clear it up…. https://www.newsweek.com/mcconnells-wifes-family-business-appears-trump-admins-list-companies-that-received-most-ppp-1515788