Failed politician, butt of every joke when credible economists go out for drinks and man who will have no problem getting a job scaring children as an evil Uncle Sam at local haunted houses once he leaves the White House, Peter Navarro, must be pretty goddamn pleased with himself.
Just a month after being placed in adult timeout for (allegedly) screaming obscenities at Steve Mnuchin while the two were in Beijing to negotiate a truce with Chinese officials, Peter has managed to retake control of U.S. trade policy.
It certainly appears as though the derisive comments emanating from the foul mouths of Navarro and Steve Bannon following Mnuchin's deal with Chinese Vice Premier Liu were in part responsible for Trump's about-face on tariffs. While it's impossible to point to any one comment or any specific interview when it comes to explaining why Trump decided to abandon the deal struck in Washington on Saturday, May 19, it's now obvious that the backlash from the isolationist contingent caused Trump to change his mind.
That change of heart manifested itself on Friday in the official announcement that the administration would be moving ahead with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and that announcement was of course accompanied by reports that the long-rumored second list (targeting an additional $100 billion in products) is indeed in the works as well. Trump kicked it up another notch on Monday evening, directing the USTR to find him another $200 billion worth of goods to tax as punishment for China's promise to go "blow for blow" until somebody cries uncle.
Markets seem to be close to a breaking point with this. Chinese equities reopened after a holiday on Tuesday and promptly plunged, with the tech-heavy ChiNext diving a truly egregious 5.8% to its lowest levels since January 2015 and the SHCOMP closing below 3,000 for the first time since September 2016. Wall Street isn't loving it either.
Well, on the heels of condemning the Canadian prime minister to actual hell following the G-7 (he would later "apologize") and now basking in the glory of the trade chaos he's largely responsible for, Navarro was out talking to reporters on Tuesday amid the market turmoil.
Quoth Navarro, quoth Kayla Tausche (who stopped aging when she turned 20):
Got that? This might all seem like an absurdly ill-advised attempt to appease flyover America by throwing the future of global trade and commerce into doubt and simultaneously guaranteeing that consumer prices will rise for the very same everyday Americans who comprise the voter base in flyover America, but that's all in your head.
What this actually is, according to Peter, is the realization of an agenda put forth by a "courageous" "visionary", named Donald Trump.
Notably, that would be the first time anyone has ever used the words "visionary" and "courageous" in the same sentence as "Donald Trump" without the word "not" in there somewhere.
Also notable was what Navarro said about the prospects for a resolution before July 6 which, you're reminded, is effectively D-Day.
"There are no talks planned, but the phone lines are open", Peter said.
Incidentally, that's the same thing Peter says every time Trump asks him if he had any luck with the ladies at the bar last night.
Finally, Peter's bombast about "talk" being "cheap" seems to suggest he doesn't fully understand the definition of the word "negotiations". Unless of course this was never about solving problems in the first place, and all about creating them in order to whip the Roseanne base into a veritable frenzy.
So I don't know, folks. This might be a good time to remember that old adage about the enemy of your enemy being your friend.
In other words, it's time to start rooting for Steve Mnuchin.