Peter Navarro wasn’t always a sad, whiny insurgent. There was a time when the former White House trade adviser and Trump’s henchman were all bright, shiny promises.
In the early 1990s, when he was running as an independent, his good looks were compared to Robert Redford, and his slowly growing platform almost got him elected mayor of San Diego.
A few years later, while running for Congress as a Democrat, he spoke at the party’s national convention and snagged the support of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who went west to bless Navarro’s unsuccessful campaign.
Today it seems difficult to reconcile the mad former UC Irvine professor who plotted to steal the 2020 presidential election for Trump with the candidate who railed against “fear-mongering” politicians and “the extreme right wing of the Republican Party.” The Rush belittled Limbaugh and denounced Pete Wilson’s 1996 presidential bid, saying the former California governor and mayor of San Diego had hoped “cynically to ride a tidal wave of white male anger and anti-immigrant fervor down the Potomac and toward the White House.” horse riding”.
But there’s a common thread, say those who have known and watched Navarro for decades: a monumental self-esteem, a bottomless hunger for attention — he once showed up to a mayoral campaign rally wearing nothing but a Speedo — and a complete lack of grounding principles .
“He was disciplined. He was focused. He’s got a real work ethic and intelligence,” said Larry Remer, who led Navarro’s 1996 convention campaign. “But you’re talking about a guy who got up every day and said, ‘I will [Republican then-House Speaker] Newt Gingrich’s worst nightmare.” Does he have core values? I do not think so.”
Navarro, 72, was charged with refusing to cooperate in the Congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Trump’s brazen effort to overthrow the will of voters and take over the White House.
Investigators would like to learn more about Navarro’s interactions with the scheming former president and about Navarro’s so-called Green Bay Sweep, the plan he wrote to urge Vice President Mike Pence to block the Senate from confirming the 2020 election and becoming Republican led legislators to do this to equalize voting in key battleground states.
Navarro happily spilled his subversive efforts to reporters and described them in a book after the election, which the committee noted in the subpoena, which he ignored.
Lately, however, the armchair mutineer has been reduced to whining on Fox News and other Trumpaganda media outlets about his treatment by the justice system, which he was trying to undermine – “Who are these people? This isn’t America” - and Grifting asks for money to bail him out of his legal jam.
“It’s going to cost half a million dollars, I’m told,” he groaned. “I’ll eat dog food if I don’t stay in jail.”
Maybe he can enjoy some decent meals in prison strips.
Navarro’s entry into San Diego politics came through his leadership of Prevent Los Angelization Now, an environmentalist group that capitalized on the city’s ongoing hostility toward its sprawling northern neighbor. The economics professor used his high-profile and heartfelt commitment to conservation to a first-place finish in the crowded 1992 mayoral race, then narrowly lost a runoff when developers and other wealthy interests rallied behind his Republican opponent, Susan Golding.
(Some say Navarro lost the race in their last debate, when Golding tearfully recounted the pain Navarro had caused with a negative ad, and he acted like an idiot in response.)
Navarro went through a revolving door of party affiliation, alternately identifying himself as Republican, Democrat, and Independent. Over the course of a decade, he ran a series of increasingly unsuccessful campaigns for various offices, suffering a total of five losses.
His cocky, aggressive personality didn’t help.
“When he ran for mayor as a fresh face, full of ideas for a greener San Diego, he started out with a good chance of winning,” said Samuel Popkin, a UC San Diego professor emeritus who long studied politics at the University of California local and national level. “Step by step in this race and future races, he alienated volunteers and donors.”
After failing in electoral politics, Navarro retired to academia and became a harsh critic of China and its business and trade policies. He wrote several books on the subject – Death By China being one of them – and drew the appreciative attention of Trump, who hired Navarro as economic adviser for his 2016 campaign.
In the White House, Navarro became a leading advocate of the tariffs and trade war Trump waged not only against China but also against allies like Canada and the European Union.
The president and Navarro also seemed to bond over a shared sense of victimhood and their slippery relationship with the truth.
“He’s always had that kind of conspiratorial bent,” said Tom Shepard, who led Golding’s mayoral campaign against Navarro. “There was always an evil force behind whoever or whatever he opposed. It was the developers. It was the Republicans. And then, after he moved to Irvine from San Diego, it was China.”
After losing his bid for Congress in 1996, Navarro wrote a shabby autobiography, San Diego Confidential, brimming with crude commentary on state and local figures and deeply revealing about its frustrated author. He called himself “the cruellest, meanest son of a bitch that ever ran for public office in San Diego.”
“I still have some principles, but not as many as you might think,” he wrote, “because I have absolutely no qualms about making up things about my opponent that are not entirely true.”
Navarro may be unusually selfish, desperate for relevance, and greedy in word and deed. But he should not be dismissed out of hand.
When Navarro calls himself ruthless, unscrupulous and a liar, one should take him at his word.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-16/peter-navarro-trump-henchman-jan-6-committee-hearings The dishonesty at the core of Trump conspirator Peter Navarro