A Reuters report claiming Beijing is already preparing for the prospect of "an armed conflict" with the US has seemingly driven the deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing back into the limelight (at least as far as the market is concerned).
But for conservatives, who have been looking at China with a wary eye since the outbreak began, this latest 'escalation' is hardly a surprise. And when it comes to rebutting China's aggression to an audience of mostly Trump supporters, nobody in the West Wing is as practiced as Pete Navarro. Which is probably why he was called to deliver a warning about the newest "threat" from China, a threat that could potentially be even more crippling to the US economy than the virus.
That threat? The vulnerability of the US power grid.
"I think that what's important for the American people to understand very clearly is that "China lied, people died". China spawned the virus and they hid the virus for 6 weeks, which allowed the virus to escape Wuhan and infect the rest of the world. And they spent that time going around the world, vacuuming up masks."
Navarro explained how President Trump's latest executive order protects America's power grid by forcing the federal government to buy and use components made only in the US (the federal government administers roughly 20% of the US power grid). Under current rules, companies subject to the influence of foreign adversaries are still allowed to compete for government contracts to supply these components, Navarro argued in a Fox op-ed published shortly before his appearance.
Right now, Navarro said his primary responsibility in the administration is overseeing the reorientation of American supply chains away from China (though this will ultimately be decided by individual corporations, the White House can certainly take steps to sway their decisions, not that the crisis hasn't been instructive enough on its own). He argued that this latest EO, along with another EO that will require federal agencies to use all-American components for medicines, are the first steps of the "decoupling" of the US economy away from China's - something that, polls show, Americans mostly support.
Without these orders, Navarro said, China poses a direct threat to the US power grid so long as components made in China and other foreign markets are used.
Watch Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro: “China spawned the virus and they hid the virus for about six weeks which allowed it to escape Wuhan and infect the world.” pic.twitter.com/S0xlhG9ckg— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) May 4, 2020
Navarro also reiterated demands for an investigation into the early days of the outbreak and whether the virus did indeed originate from a lab: "Did they make scientists disappear?" Navarro asked.
He also insisted that "buy American is going to be the law of the land soon at HHS at DoD at the Veterans Administration...but we need to innovate...and we need to de-regulate...we need to have the whole chain here so it's not all around the world, holding America hostage."
Before the interview ended, Navarro urged viewers to read an article published last week by the Daily Telegraph that Navarro said gave "the entire timeline" of Beijing's "complicity" in this.