Former San Diego Slow-Growth Advocate – Now Trump Trade Advisor – Is Condemned for Attacks on Canada

by on June 11, 2018 · 3 comments

in San Diego

Former San Diegan Peter Navarro was on my mind this morning. Why, there he was – on the front page of the Los Angeles Times – being quoted about the raunchy views the White House now has of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Navarro said, “there’s a special place in hell” for Trudeau, that Trudeau engaged in “bad faith diplomacy”, and tried “to stab [Trump] in the back on the way out the door.”

This was all, of course, in the context of the G7 summit just held in Canada. Once Trump left for Singapore, Trudeau stated Canada would impose retaliatory measures in direct response to Trump’s tariffs on Canadian products, warning Canada would not be “pushed around,” and that Trudeau “will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.”

“Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”

Front page, LA Times, June 11, 2018

Then Navarro, our pal, hit back. Here’s his fuller quote:

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.

“And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One.”

Peter Navarro was well known in San Diego and Ocean Beach back in the 1990s as a type of environmentalist activist and populist politician. He said he used to surf OB. He was an in-your-face, slow-growth advocate – and a Democrat. He led a group called PLAN, Prevent Los Angelisation Now. He ran for local office 5 times – and I’m certain I voted for him at least once – but lost each time, although a couple were close.

After being a lecturer at USD and UCSD in the 1980s, his first electoral campaign was in 1992. He ran in a crowded mayoral primary and received the most votes (38%), but in the general election, he lost to Republican Susan Golding, 52% to 48%.

A year later in 1993, Navarro ran for city council in District 1 – and lost by a hair (277 votes) to Harry Mathis. Then in 1994, he was narrowly defeated again (3,265 votes) this time by Ron Roberts in a race for the 4th District of the county Board of Supervisors.

In 1996, Navarro tried an upset of Congressman Brian Bilbray California’s 49th District and big name Democrats campaigned for him (Hillary Clinton and then US Congressman – later Mayor Bob Filner) – but to no avail. He lost again. His last San Diego campaign was for the city council again – this time for District 6. He didn’t make it. San Diego Union-Tribune

Finally, Navarro gave up on San Diego, moved to Orange County and UC Irvine, where he became a professor and author of a dozen economic books.

UC Irvine is where Navarro changed. He went from a Democrat populist to a hard-line critic of China and an strong advocate of right-wing politics and economics. Today he sits as the Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy, and the Director of the White House National Trade Council, – fancy titles for a sycophant – where he he fuels Trump’s anti-China tirades. And yes, he campaigned viciously for Trump.

So, Navarro has joined a select club of former San Diego politicians, who once all had a populist type of politics, but changed into having racist and/ or right-wing views; we’re talking Pete Wilson, former mayor and governor and we’re talking Roger “Light ’em up” Hedgecock, also former mayor, and now racist radio talkshow host.  Congrats, Peter.

Yet, generally, Navarro’s views are considered significantly outside the mainstream of economic thought; a strong proponent of reducing U.S. trade deficits; a critic of Germany and China for so-called currency manipulation; he wants high tariffs for the US, and is against both NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In an interview with the Guardian a couple of years ago, Navarro claimed his harsh critiques on China have nothing to do with race or ethnicity. He said:

“It’s about a brutal, authoritarian communist government that’s engaged in mercantilist enterprise, and is allowed to get away with it.”

The Guardian then reported:

In documentaries and books – the latest is Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World – Navarro has depicted China as an insatiable menace which systematically bullies, lies and cheats, especially on trade rules through currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies, intellectual property theft and polluting sweatshops. “China uses these weapons of job destruction to unfairly tilt the playing field.”

Bill Clinton let the chicken into the hen house by paving China’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001, said Navarro, enabling the Asian giant to siphon US jobs, industry and growth, which in turn funded Chinese military expansion. “This is the essence of Trump’s campaign. He understands this problem.”

The Guardian

Yet, today, Navarro is not in the news about China, he’s in the news for blasting the US’s closest ally, Canada. Those imperialistic, greedy Canadians – they all just want what we have – but they can’t.

Everything he accused Trudeau of, Navarro’s boss is even more guilty of: engaging in bad-faith diplomacy – why Trump did that just this week with his refusal to sign the G7 – or rather G6 – accord. Trump stabbed the other ministers in their collective backs, in fact, as he was going out the door, by turning on them so brutally. Trump is always holding stunts (not press conferences however – what, he’s held two now), and Trump is and has been clearly dishonest.

Navarro, old friend, old buddy – you’ve turned to the Dark Side. Talk about special places in hell, Peter, why you already have your reservations. San Diego rejected you – but hell won’t.

So, who’s condemning Peter Navarro, you ask? Well, we are, for starters.

Other sources:

San Diego Reader


The Guardian

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie June 11, 2018 at 5:49 pm

I wrote this especially for my late afternoon / early evening readers.


Chris June 12, 2018 at 6:25 am

Just another opportunist politician doing what he needs (or think he needs) to do for his own career.


Frank Gormlie June 13, 2018 at 10:11 am

Navarro apologizes …go here for link


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