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Peter Navarro Talks About China And Why He Supports Donald Trump

August 11, 2016 2:14 p.m.

Peter Navarro Talks About China And Why He Supports Donald Trump


Peter Navarro, author and professor of economics, UC Irvine

Related Story: Peter Navarro Talks About China And Why He Supports Donald Trump


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

When Donald Trump gave his address earlier this week some of this was divided by a name earlier -- familiar to San Diego residents. Peter Navarro ran as a Democrat for multiple political offices including Mayor and congressional representative in the 1990s and early 2000's. So what is he doing advising candidate Trump? We decided to ask him. He is presently Professor of business at UC Irvine. His most recent book is called crouching Tiger with China's militarism means for the world.

Peter, welcome to the program.
It is always a pleasure to talk to Maureen.
People in San Diego who remember you from your days as the Democratic candidate might be saying what is he doing advising Trump? How do you answer that?
I guess I am a Reagan Democrat Trump Democrat has been abandoned by my party on jobs, economy, trade, and national security. I have always considered myself a pragmatist and it's been difficult 15 years here in America on a bipartisan failure. Trump has come in and is reformulating the Republican Party as we know it as Bernie Sanders has upended the Democratic Party. It should be because we need some good solutions that we are not getting.
In your book San Diego confidentially made the assertion that you were firmly a Democrat. Do you think you ever really were works I know people have doubt at the time.
Here is my political party. I'm an economist. When you are an economist and becomes very difficult to you the party line anywhere. I consider myself for example an environmentalist. I got involved in the Trump campaign simply because Donald Trump has properly diagnosed what is wrong with not just the US economy but the global economy. We have been spending billions and billions of dollars on a misdiagnosis. The misdiagnosis is the idea that somehow all these economic problems are short run and we can solve them with a standard textbook Keynesian process.
You been threatening of the problem with China. That seems to be a threat the -- concern that used -- that you share with Donald Trump is that we got you noticed by his campaign?
In 2011 a smartest reporter interviewed Trump and asked him what are your favorite books on China. He expected a Sarah Palin moment. What Trump did his pursuit to reel off 15 books about China, ranked them from Todd -- top to bottom, and mention them in some detail and my book the coming China wars was number six on his book. At that point I saw the article and began corresponding with hope Hicks and his media people and he was kind enough in 2011 and 2012 to write in that test -- a nice testimonial for my death by China book and documentary. I only mention it because it really lays out how Bill Clinton got us into this mess by shoehorning China into the World Trade Organization. Up until that point the economy was growing at a rate of 3.5%. Since China has gotten into the WTO which allows them to float -- flood our markets with illegally subsidized goods are growth rates have been cut almost in half to 1.8%. That is 1 million jobs we don't create a year.
Have you ever met Mister Trump?
I never has. I have talked to the people around him. Right now we're really intelligent people all outside the Beltway all outside the group.
Let me go back to San Diego confidential. You wrote that Republicans cook up tax schemes to further enrich the rich. It looks like there is plenty in trumps economic plan to further enrich the rich. Do you support that now.
If you look at the tax plan the most important part for me is lowering the corporate tax rate. Why do I want to do that. It's not to make corporations richer it's because when we try to keep our production here and that tax rate is the highest in the world that corporate tax rate gives an incentive to General Motors and Ford to take their plans to Mexico instead of staying in Michigan. For example Trump gave his speech in Detroit. Over the past few years GM and Ford have missed about $5 billion worth of investment to Mexico that otherwise could have stayed in Michigan. Why did they go there? Part of it was the high corporate tax rate so Trump's tax plan is designed to address those kinds of things synergistically with the trade issue. I am not worried about giving tax cuts across the income sex -- spectrum what I'm worried about is Hillary Clinton basically taxing small businesses and the middle class and disguising that in the rhetoric of this kind of Robin Hood tax the rich thing. We have been there and done that the whiskey is not working.
Leaving aside the argument about the specific proposals. Are you comfortable with him as the messenger. Many Republicans are concerned about judgment temperament and offhand remarks. Are you okay with that.
Here's what I love about Donald Trump. If you look at the presidential candidates over the decades is the rare individual who is not beholden to anybody. He sells under the primary campaign. If you look at everybody else they are getting all their money from the multinational corporations. In Hillary Clinton's case I don't know if you sell the pay for play scandals that have come out recently where Secretary of State money was going to the Clinton foundation and then State Department was doing favors for the people. That's the kind of stuff that's not part of Trump. That's what I remind -- admire about him. I trust this guy. Sure he says things that kind of make you -- he said that. Then you look at it like an immigration ban on Muslims. That sounds pretty provocative and certainly not very correct. You drove down on that. What do we want 2000 Syrian refugees coming into our country when the State Department can't properly vet them and they may be one through 20 coming in to our Isis terrorists for and possibly blowing up San Diego or the Beltway. I'm comfortable with this. I love this in a way because Trump has exactly seeing the chessboard of what is going on with our economy and security and is pushing it forward. He doesn't want a regime change he wants trade deals but he's not going to let anybody cheetahs.
I have been speaking with Peter Navarro. Great to see you.