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Ex-Trump aide Navarro pleads not guilty to contempt charges

 June 17, 2022 at 4:37 PM PDT

S1: Peter Navarro's journey from San Diego politician to a federal indictment.
S2: You could say there was a certain philosophical and political rootlessness to him.
S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. New San Diego appointments shake up the political balance of the Catholic clergy.
S2: The earthquake with Pope Francis , the aftershocks are people like Bishop Dolan being elevated to bishop bishop of the cardinal.
S1: And a preview of the new season of the KPBS arts television show. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The televised hearings into the January 6th insurrection have so far featured many of Donald Trump's inner circle of advisers. We've heard testimony from people like campaign strategist Jason Miller , daughter Ivanka and even former Attorney General Bill Barr. But one person we haven't heard from is a man with deep roots in San Diego. Not only has Trump assistant Peter Navarro been absent from these hearings , but today he pleaded not guilty to contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the January six committee. Navarro's journey from Democratic San Diego mayoral candidate to MAGA Republican Trump defender has been complicated. L.A. Times columnist Mark Barabak is here to give us his take on that story. And Mark , welcome to the show. Hi.
S2: Hi. Thanks for having me.
S1: I think longtime San Diegans will remember Peter Navarro as an up and coming star of the Democratic Party here. Remind us about him in those days.
S2: Yeah , I you know , just a bit of personal history. I was I was the Washington correspondent for the Union-Tribune , which is where Peter Navarro first came on my radar as a candidate for Congress. But as you suggest , his his start in San Diego politics came from his involvement in a slow growth anti-growth movement. And he parlayed that into a run for mayor in 1992. As you suggest , he was an up and comer. Good looking was compared to a young Robert Redford at the time and actually came in first in a in a pretty crowded field and then lost that 1992 runoff to Susan Golding when developers had a lot of business interests came out against him. But it should be said to a lot of people think that he lost that race. He went after Susan Golding in a very personal way. A lot of personal attacks. She cried during the last debate , and he was rather , I would say , not just chivalrous , but he was he was a big jerk during that debate. And a lot of people think that's because in the mayor's race , it was close , 5248 , he was almost mayor.
S1: Now , in those days , he used to write things that criticized white male rage and fear mongering politicians.
S2: Brian Bilbray was very critical of right wing Republicans with very critical of Newt Gingrich. In fact , he campaigned saying that Newt Gingrich , of course , was the Republican speaker of the time campaign by saying he would be Newt Gingrich. His worst nightmare went after Rush Limbaugh and others on the right. He was very much a down the line Democrat , although it should be said that was just one of several political incarnations. He was a Republican. He was a Democrat. He was an independent. He was a Democrat again. So you could say there was a certain philosophical and political ruthlessness to him , which explains , I think to some extent how we ended up being a Trump acolyte.
S1: Well , he ran unsuccessfully for office multiple times. He settled in as a professor of economics at UC Irvine , wrote cautionary books about the rise of China. That's apparently what got Trump's attention. But you write that Trump and Navarro became close not only because of politics , but because of similar personality traits. Tell us about that.
S2: Well , both of them have a penchant for conspiracies. Big chip on their shoulders. What I what I describe as a sense of victimhood. In Peter Navarro's case , it was the developers , it was the Republicans. Then it was China. President Trump We could go on a very long list of conspiracies , not least the supposed stealing , quote unquote , of the 2020 election. So , yes , they said they bonded over both a conspiratorial bent , as well as what I describe as a very slippery relationship. But the truth in Peter Navarro's own words , he said he's not above deceit. He said he's not or he wrote a very interesting book after his congressional campaign , San Diego Confidential , which was a lot of dish on a lot of state , local , national political figures. And in it , he just said flat out , I don't have any problem making up stuff about my opponent and lying.
S2: And yeah , I guess at the very least , you need to give him credit for honesty and self-awareness. In his book , he called himself quoting here , his words , Not mine , the cruelest and meanest S.O.B. who ever ran for public office in San Diego. You know , as I suggest in the column , if someone calls himself unscrupulous , deceitful and a liar , at least in that case , take them at their word.
S2: That's that's why I want to do the column and explore that. Like I said , how do you go from being a liberal Democrat to a Trump acolyte ? And I talked to a lot of people have known him for a great many. Years. They say if there's a through line , it is a consistent what I describe as a monumental self-regard , an utter lack of grounding principles , and not least what I call a bottomless hunger for attention pointing that the once actually showed up for a mayoral campaign event wearing nothing but a Speedo bathing suit.
S1: Some people dismiss Peter Navarro as a kind of nutty opportunist.
S2: And kooky , nutty , self-absorbed , egotistical , all those things. But scarily and unfortunately was in a position where he could act on those crazy and nutty ideas and came very close , along with a whole cadre of co-conspirators to bring down our government.
S1: I've been speaking with L.A. Times columnist Mark Barabak. Mark , thank you so much.
S2: My pleasure.
S1: San Diego's Roman Catholic diocese has made some big headlines over the past few weeks. First , its leader was tapped by Pope Francis to become a cardinal , passing over more senior and more conservative Catholic clergy. Then San Diego's auxiliary bishop was chosen to become bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix , replacing a more conservative bishop. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado has a look at what those changes mean.
S3: Bishop Robert McElroy himself said he never imagined this could happen a once in a lifetime appointment to become a cardinal. It came as a surprise.
S2: Not a clue that this was being contemplated or even possible.
S3: To many San Diegans , a good surprise.
S4: We announced at a church and all the masses , everybody rejoiced and clapped.
S3: That's Pastor Peter Navarra of Saint Joseph's Cathedral in downtown San Diego. He says for those who understand the hierarchy of the church , the selection is very out of the norm.
S4: Yes , that kind of surprised me because he broke the the format , you know , the tradition. Bishop McElroy , who was not an archbishop and then made it more special because San Diego is now in the map.
S3: And weeks after McElroy selection , Pope Francis again turned to San Diego to elevate another church leader.
S2: Please join me in welcoming Bishop John Dolan.
S3: Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan will leave San Diego in August to take over the Phoenix diocese , replacing a retiring bishop. Known for being ultra conservative.
S2: These are exciting and unpredictable and wild days for San Diego.
S3: Michael Lovette Collier is the head of mission integration at the University of San Diego. He says two like minded leaders being placed in high ranking positions in the church has significant implications. But that change started with Pope Francis.
S2: The earthquake was Pope Francis. The aftershocks are people like Bishop Dolan being elevated to Bishop. Bishop McEvoy becoming the cardinal.
S3: Just days before he was named bishop of Phoenix. We spoke with Dolan about McIlroy's selection as a cardinal. He addressed some of the criticism from hard liners saying much like Pope Francis McElroy will lead with his heart.
S2: It isn't that he is trying to be conservative or liberal. He's really trying to focus on being a person who communicates at all times without drawing a line in the sand , because that never really helps.
S3: McElroy and church insiders say part of the reason he was selected was because of his work on three issues that are near to Pope Francis's heart immigration , inclusion and the environment. McElroy will be the only cardinal on the West Coast and in a border city. Father Patrick Murphy runs Casa Immigrant , a nonprofit shelter for migrants across the border in Tijuana. He says a voice like McIlroy's is needed in Rome.
S2: I think that's very strong symbolism on the part of Pope Francis as he has this phrase , reaching out to people on the peripheries and being at the border as being in the periphery.
S3: Women have long been on the periphery of church leadership. But McElroy made changes by appointing Maria Olivia Galvan as the first woman chancellor and director for Pastoral Ministries in the diocese. That is something that we're starting to see more and more throughout the nation. But it's far from being a reality. He's a visionary , and environmental advocates like Mitch Silverstein from the Surfrider Foundation say having allies in positions of leadership matters.
S2: I think it's just crucial to to all of us uniting to save our planet ultimately.
S3: LOVETT Collier says this type of pastoral leadership will help usher in a new generation who have not seen themselves or their friends accepted in the church.
S2: People in those roles who operate in that way , who have those qualities are often see , especially by young people , as incredibly relevant and credible and authentic witnesses. And therefore , they're really effective in attracting people either to pay attention to the church in a new way or maybe even to get involved in a deeper way.
S3: McElroy will travel to Rome in August , where he will be installed by Pope Francis. Then he will return to San Diego to continue his work with the new title of Cardinal. Kitty Alvarado , KPBS News.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. On this weekend preview , we welcome the return of KPBS Arts , our television series that highlights a wide range of local theater music , dance and visual art. The program's host , William B.J. Robinson , joins us to chat about the series and some of the artists and organizations he'll be profiling in upcoming episodes. So welcome , B.J.. Hello.
S2: Hello. Thank you for having me , Maureen.
S1: And , of course , KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson. Evans is also here to tell us some things that are happening around town this weekend. Welcome , Julia.
S3: Hi , Maureen. It's great to be here. Thank you.
S1: So , Julia , on your Radar this weekend is a dance festival from San Diego Dance Theater in Liberty Station.
S3: And this year it's a little bit dialed back. In the past , it's been nine or ten days of performances this year , just four days over the course of this weekend. They kicked it off last night with performances from their own choreographers , but they bring in collaborators and artists from all around the world. Some of the standouts this weekend. Tonight , Teatro and in San Diego is a Tijuana based contemporary dance company. They're performing at 8:00. They're going to be doing this art performance piece. There's a little bit of audience participation , and this hones in on suffering , exhaustion and depression for what they're calling a society in crisis. I've seen some previous performances of this , some clips of it , and it is absolutely gorgeous. And then there's other performances , too. Saturday at eight , another standout is a , you know , her presentation of In Our Red World. This was premiered in their young choreographers showcase last year. And then Sunday at eight is because Souls Between Play and Pause. This is local hip hop contemporary dance company performing on Sunday will be and black Shavon Cano Kendrick Dale Grace Schneiderman and more. And this all takes place at in Liberty Station at the Light Box Theater.
S1: Okay , Julia , thank you. Now , let me bring in B.J. Robinson. He's , of course , the host of KPBS Arts.
S2: This weekend is celebrating Juneteenth across the country. And so there's a few different things that people can check out if they're interested. On Saturday , the Old Globe is hosting a Juneteenth celebration , part of their access free performing arts series from 12 to 2. It is at their outdoor theater. It's completely free , and it will have poetry , choirs , social presentations , theater , live bands. It's going to be a really exciting thing. Hosted by Gill. So too. But if you're more into the athletic thing , there's a great organization called Black Educated Inc that is hosting a5k run on Sunday that starts at noon in Joyous Park. So you can choose whether you're looking for more arts or athletics to celebrate Juneteenth this weekend.
S1: Okay , thanks , B.J.. I wonder what it means for you to see this program , KPBS Arts Return After a Pandemic Hiatus.
S2: It has been an exciting yet trying time the last two years to keep arts thriving and to keep audiences engaged with the artists here in San Diego and beyond. And KPBS Arts has been a great opportunity for people to connect with artists with different events , with different series coming through San Diego , as well as when they're traveling the country. So it means the world to get to bring this back after two years and get to continue to highlight what we're doing here in San Diego , as well as share stories nationwide.
S1: And you bring us to the personal lives of some of the artists around town. Here's a clip from the first episode. It features renowned San Diego ballet dancer Xavier Hicks.
S5: I was raised with a lot of different nationalities and basically the nationalities that I was with , they never really had any black dancers with black athletes around them. So when my mom finally came to join me and she says to me , I want you to go see this and I want you to go see that. I went with it because mostly there was nobody that looked like me. Now we have a whole bunch of them coming out shoes , tights , all that stuff reflects that. So the growth is always there and the struggle is always there , but the beauty is always going to be that. Again.
S1: Again. That's from the new KPBS Arts program. Now , BJ , you explore the arts through a distinctively local angle , but the program will take viewers far beyond San Diego. Tell us about this mix of local and nationwide arts you'll be delving into.
S2: There's just so much going on in the arts world , and it's always difficult to keep up with everything. Whether you are looking for something to just pass the time or you're an absolute passionate fan and patron of the arts. And so what we get to do with KPBS Arts is offer people ways to connect with some of that information , be it you're going on the road and find out about different festivals taking place in Reno or Tallahassee , or exhibits that are moving from L.A. to New York. Or if you're just trying to find out more about local artists like we got to do in this upcoming episode on Xavier Hicks. He is a fantastic dancer with a long standing career as a San Diego principal dancer. He attended the San Diego School of Performing Creative and Performing Arts. He's been a principal dancer with California Ballet , and he currently teaches throughout all of San Diego counties , offering lectures and workshops and as well as working with different companies like Malasakit Dance and his own company , Sailor. So there's just so much that we get to share. And I think it's really a great way for people to to just get a different perspective on artists and the art that they make.
S1: You can catch the return of KPBS Arts Tonight at eight on KPBS two or tomorrow at 430 on KPBS TV. And I've been speaking with KPBS arts program host B.J. Robinson. Thank you so much for speaking with us.
S2: Thank you so much for having me.
S1: And of course , thanks again to KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Thanks , Julia.
S3: Thank you , Maureen. And thank you , B.J.. Have a good weekend.

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The televised hearings into the January 6 insurrection have so far featured many of Donald Trump’s inner circle of advisors. But one person we haven’t heard from is a man with deep roots in San Diego. Then, San Diego’s Roman Catholic Diocese has made some big headlines over the past few weeks. First, its leader was tapped by Pope Francis to become a cardinal. Then San Diego’s auxiliary bishop was chosen to become bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, replacing a more conservative bishop. And, we welcome the return of KPBS/Arts, the KPBS television series that highlights a wide range of local theater, music, dance, and visual art. Plus, San Diego weekend arts events including Live Arts Fest, Juneteenth at the Globe, 'Iron' and more.