It was an idea so breathtaking in its inanity, so charged with chutzpah, so completely lacking in sense that, truly, it could only have come from this foul year of our Lord 2020: Let’s take a formerly great but now failing and flailing piece of American industrial history and transform it into producer of ingredients for a vaccine that doesn’t yet exist and other generic drugs so as to reduce our reliance on the Chinese, and let’s do it with more than three quarters of a billion tax dollars. Oh, and can we do it in a way that produces an insider-trading probe?
But ideas do not come from calendrical periods, even those that last all of two weeks. Days and months and years have no agency, no ability to dream big, and certainly no ability to think wildly insane and borderline impossible schemes. Those have to come from people. No points for guessing which member of President Trump’s brain trust farted this one out.
On a white board in his office earlier this year, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro made a list of potential companies that could manufacture pharmaceuticals in the U.S.
He separated them into three columns, one for each stage of the production process. Eastman Kodak Co. stood out, overlapping two of the three columns….
Mr. Navarro… spearheaded the idea and then used his sway within the administration to help Kodak navigate the bureaucracy to be first in line for the potential contract, including tapping an obscure government agency to help push the loan through the final stages…. In June, Kodak submitted a 17-page financial model code-named “Project Tiger” and a 96-page business plan, according to a person familiar with Kodak. There were no other applicants, according to a senior administration official.
Truly shocking that the economics professor who doesn’t understand economics and senior trade adviser who doesn’t understand how trade works, a man who has to be routinely sent to time out for not playing well with others and for, well, not understanding economics and trade and anything else by who amount to the grown-ups in the particularly maturity-free room that is the Trump administration, was behind what might be its most batshit connivance in a breathtakingly strong field. And you know what’s even more shocking? That a senior member of said administration is taking absolutely no responsibility for it.
Mr. Navarro said, “we did everything right in moving the project forward but something on Kodak’s end appears to have gone wrong….”
Mr. Navarro tweeted: “VERY disappointed last week’s great deal with Kodak tarnished by allegations. Absolutely RIGHT move by DFC! We must redouble efforts to bring our pharma manufacturing home!!”
“Based on what I’m seeing, what happened at Kodak was probably the dumbest decisions made by executives in corporate history,” Navarro said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box….”
“You can’t fix ‘stupid,’” Navarro added. “You can’t even anticipate that degree of stupidity.”
Truer words have never before passed the jabbering lips of Peter Navarro.