September 3, 2020 at 2:56 AM EDT
Tactics of fiery White House trade adviser draw new scrutiny as some of his pandemic moves unravel
Amid the Trump administration’s troubled response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior White House aide Peter Navarro has refashioned himself as a powerful government purchasing chief, operating far beyond his original role as an adviser on trade policy.
But U.S. officials say the abrasive figure’s shortcomings as a manager could influence how well prepared the United States is for a second wave of coronavirus infections expected this fall.
Navarro’s harsh manner and disregard for protocol have alienated numerous colleagues, corporate executives and prominent Republicans. In a previously undisclosed incident, the White House Counsel’s Office in 2018 investigated Navarro’s behavior in response to repeated complaints and found he routinely had been verbally abusive toward others. Navarro narrowly avoided losing his job, but the abuse has continued as the White House has grappled with the pandemic, multiple administration officials said.
By David Lynch, Carol D. Leonnig, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey