Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Peter Navarro Defends Himself in New Book Amid Prison Term

Peter Navarro at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on 24 February 2024. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters
Peter Navarro at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on 24 February 2024. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

In a book set to be published a day before his release from prison this month, former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro praises Donald Trump’s Maga movement. He also lists errors and omissions he believes led to his four-month sentence for criminal contempt of Congress, stemming from his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6 committee.

However, Navarro himself makes notable errors and omissions, such as jarringly misidentifying Ashli Babbitt— the Trump supporter shot dead at the US Capitol and considered a martyr by many on the far right— as a US Marine Corps veteran. In reality, Babbitt served in the US Air Force.

Navarro’s book, The New Maga Deal: The Unofficial Deplorables Guide to Donald Trump’s 2024 Policy Platform, will be published on July 16, a day before his scheduled release from prison. The Guardian obtained an early copy of the book.

Reflecting on how he ended up behind bars, Navarro claims that the US Department of Justice “played dirty pool” by neglecting its own policies on executive privilege. He also argues that a judge denied him various lawful defenses, and claims his jury was irredeemably biased. According to Navarro, jurors were even ushered into the proximity of anti-Trump protesters shortly before delivering their guilty verdict.

“How do you spell ‘mistrial’?” Navarro rhetorically asks.

But Navarro’s account of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, during which he played a central role, is riddled with errors and omissions. He asserts that “much of the ‘J6’ violence… was instigated not by Trump supporters, but rather by agent provocateurs – including FBI informants.” Multiple sources, including Poynter, a nonpartisan fact-checking group, have found no evidence to support the claim that the FBI orchestrated January 6.

Navarro also alleges that the violence on January 6 was “apparently facilitated by Capitol Hill police officers,” claiming some officers removed barriers and waved protesters through. CNN’s Daniel Dale, a leading fact-checker, has countered this claim by noting that around 140 police officers were assaulted while trying to stop the mob. There were hours-long battles and numerous instances of officers engaging in hand-to-hand combat to keep rioters out of the building.

Navarro further contends that Nancy Pelosi, then House Speaker, “rejected the 10,000 national guard troops requested by President Trump leading up to J6.” Politico, however, has clarified that Trump never formally made such an offer, and Pelosi never rejected it. Despite some private musings in the days before January 6, there was no formal offer made by Trump’s military leadership.

Additional errors from Navarro include misidentifying Ashli Babbitt’s military branch and inaccurately claiming that Rosanne Boyland was “beaten to death by Capitol police.” Boyland actually died in a crush, and videos purportedly showing her being beaten have been debunked.

Navarro’s new book is not his first. His previous work, Taking Back Trump’s America: Why We Lost the White House and How We’ll Win It Back, was published in 2022. In this book, he recounts his role and controversies in the Trump administration.

Before joining Trump’s team, Navarro was a Harvard-PhD economist, a China hawk, a green activist, and a frustrated political candidate. He was once found to have published work quoting “Ron Vara,” a supposed expert whose name was an anagram of his own. Despite this, he secured an appointment to advise Trump, becoming the head of the White House National Trade Council and director of trade and industrial policy in 2016.

Navarro gained further prominence during the chaotic response to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a key architect of Trump’s attempts to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden. His efforts to alter results in battleground states— notably through a plan he called the “Green Bay sweep”— placed him in the crosshairs of the House January 6 committee.

Claiming his work for Trump was protected by executive privilege, Navarro refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena, a decision that led to his conviction by a Washington jury last September. He was sentenced in January and had an appeal to the US Supreme Court denied in March. He reported to jail in Florida and is due for release on July 17.

In The New Maga Deal, Navarro attempts to “clearly articulate what Maga represents,” describing it as an “iron triangle of Populist Economic Nationalism” aimed at achieving peace, prosperity, and national security. The book outlines legislative priorities for Trump’s potential second term, with contributions from Russ Vought, Mike Davis, and Frank Gaffney.

The introduction, written by Steve Bannon— like Navarro, a Trump White House aide convicted on criminal charges— may garner the most attention. Bannon, currently serving a federal prison sentence for criminal contempt of Congress, praises Navarro’s book, calling it “exhilarating to read, energizing to think about.” Bannon concludes his introduction with a hearty “Bravo, brother Navarro.”

Source: The Guardian, Poynter, CNN, Politico