On NPR, WH economic adviser Peter Navarro dismisses concerns about Trump family's conflicts of interest.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 30, 2018
"I think the American people would rather focus on how to stop China from taking the seed corn of our future prosperity. That's what i'm focused on." https://t.co/tq1Tha3BFk
Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, thinks the American public does not care if President Donald Trump and his family are profiting from their deals with China.
During an interview with NPR, Navarro was asked if a recent report about Ivanka Trump getting new Chinese trademarks and Trump’s newly found concerns for jobless Chinese people after it was reported a state-owned Chinese construction company loaned $500 million to build a theme park in Indonesia that would feature a “Trump-branded golf course and hotels,” would be considered a conflict of interest and a matter of concern for U.S. citizen.
“As you know, the president has maintained ownership of his company, has business interests around the world. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, has business interests in China and just got a bunch more trademarks approved. How do you reassure people that in all of his decisions, the president is acting in the national interest rather than his interests or family’s business interests?” asked Host Steve Inskeep.
The question did not sit well with Navarro.
He not only defended the Trump family’s actions to be in the interest of America but also termed the question demeaning.
“I think it’s unfortunate when anybody takes the discussion in that direction,” Navarro said.
Instead, he suggested American people have more important things to worry about rather than their president’s family benefiting from their business policies in the name of national interest.
“I think the American people would rather focus on how to stop China from taking the seed corn of our future prosperity, so that’s what I’m focused on. Can we stay on that, sir?” he demanded.
However, shockingly (or not), Trump’s decision based on personal preferences do affect national interest.
After the $500 million Chinese loan into the Trump-branded project in Indonesia, Trump decided to revert his penalties for Chinese company ZTE Corp for infringement of U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran, stating the telecom maker is a big buyer for U.S. suppliers.
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
A few days after the tweet by Trump, his own nominee to lead the newly created National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina said ZTE, in fact, represented a national security threat.
Evianna also added anyone in a “sensitive” position avoid using a ZTE phone.
Trump’s decision to revert ZTE penalties and his pursuance of new business deals has proved a tough point to defend for his administration.
Like Navarro, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah also struggled to defend the commander-in-chief after he was asked of the Trump family’s conflict of interest regarding the ZTE deal.
“I’ll have to refer you to the Trump Organization. You’re asking about a private organization’s dealings that may have to do with a foreign government. It’s not something I can speak to,” he said, not very convincingly.
Thumbnail / Banner : REUTERS/Jason Lee