White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News on Tuesday evening that private American companies were rapidly mobilizing to meet the economic need created by the coronavirus, which came from China.
“So, one of the things I did — yesterday morning, I got a call from a company called Pernod Ricard. It makes alcohol. It makes alcoholic beverages,” Navarro told Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum. “They had volunteered to make hand sanitizer using their alcohol. They had some obstacles.”
“So, I made three phone calls, one to Treasury, one to the FDA, one to HHS to clear their obstacles out of the way in Trump time — quickly,” Navarro continued. “And today, we got a commitment they’re going to start producing on Friday, and over time, we’re going to have 4,000 gallons a week, and they’re going to be able to send it to the government at no cost.”
Navarro, who said that fighting the coronavirus essentially put the U.S. in a “wartime” setting, also highlighted another American company that was quickly mobilizing to create masks that were needed.
“Honeywell offered on Friday — they called my office, they say, look, we want to start producing within 30 days the face masks. We can open up a plant in Smithfield, Rhode Island. All we need to do is have you help us work with HHS to get the ball rolling,” Navarro continued. “So, on Friday, I said, OK, get your contract in, they got it in by that night. I called HHS over the weekend and said, yes, we’re going to flip that within a couple of days. And already, we have Honeywell moving towards that.”
“So, what it looks like is having the appropriate incentives for our domestic industry to produce these things like face masks and hand sanitizer and all the things we need.”
“And what we need long term, Martha, this is — this is problem that we face. The government does not buy American enough. The government, the V.A., HHS, DOD, tremendously large consumers of medicine, medical supplies and medical equipment,” Navarro continued. “And so, what we’re — I’m working with the President as we speak to get an executive order to the finish line which will provide long-term incentives for our companies to produce here.”
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But first, we go to Peter Navarro.
Peter, welcome. Great to have you with us tonight.
PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISOR: Good evening, Martha.
MACCALLUM: I know you’re all working very hard there to get everybody on track. And, of course, one of the things that leaves people so unnerved is the impact that it has on their daily life with regard to work and their job and being able to go to work and all of that.
Tell us a little bit about what was put in place today to alleviate some of that anxiety.
NAVARRO: Well, Martha, my job here at the White House is to be a soldier out making sure the supply chain works so that we have everything we need —
NAVARRO: — to treat our people.
So, one of the things I did — yesterday morning, I got a call from a company called Pernod Ricard. It makes alcohol. It makes alcoholic beverages.
They had volunteered to make hand sanitizer using their alcohol. They had some obstacles.
So, I made three phone calls, one to Treasury, one to the FDA, one to HHS to clear their obstacles out of the way in Trump time — quickly.
And today, we got a commitment they’re going to start producing on Friday, and over time, we’re going to have 4,000 gallons a week, and they’re going to be able to send it to the government at no cost.
That’s the kind of beauty we’re seeing as we have —
NAVARRO: — the full force of government and full force of business join hands to help the American people.
MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely.
NAVARRO: And, by the way, these facilities are going to be in America. They’re in West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Kentucky.
MACCALLUM: So, I think one of the things that — this is making a lot of us think about is that supply chain. And one of the areas that is very concerning is the amount of our medicine and pharmaceuticals that we have handed over to the Chinese to produce. And I know this is something that’s very important to you as well.
How quickly can we ramp up that production here at home? What does that look like?
NAVARRO: Well, for example — I’ll give you another example. Honeywell offered on Friday — they called my office, they say, look, we want to start producing within 30 days the face masks. We can open up a plant in Smithfield, Rhode Island. All we need to do is have you help us work with HHS to get the ball rolling.
So, on Friday, I said, OK, get your contract in, they got it in by that night. I called HHS over the weekend and said, yes, we’re going to flip that within a couple of days. And already, we have Honeywell moving towards that.
So, what it looks like is having the appropriate incentives for our domestic industry to produce these things like face masks and hand sanitizer and all the things we need.
And what we need long term, Martha, this is — this is problem that we face. The government does not buy American enough. The government, the V.A., HHS, DOD, tremendously large consumers of medicine, medical supplies and medical equipment.
And so, what we’re — I’m working with the President as we speak to get an executive order to the finish line which will provide long-term incentives for our companies to produce here.
And it’s not — this is not about China, because if you look at the dispersion of that chain, it’s across the world. Europe, for example, Ireland surprisingly enough, Germany, Switzerland, we’re heavily dependent on there — India as well.
And so, what we’ve got to do is through — three things, Martha. We’re going to have –buy American. We’re going to deregulate so we can get things here done faster. And most importantly, we’re going to innovate to keep prices down.
There’s a process called advanced manufacturing that we’re working in lightning speed to get switches flipped on there.
So, that’s — that’s the big picture. We cannot keep having these public health crises —
NAVARRO: — and go back to sleep like the previous administrations have.
This is going to be different this time, and we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to be in a better place over time because we’re going to produce things here in America.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, I think — you know, those are all things that head in the right direction.
What about — you know, the current concerns over enough beds, enough hospital facilities, the question about whether or not the Army Corps of Engineers should be building temporary hospitals and medical facilities?
We heard Governor Cuomo today saying, you know, in some cases, you could move some people out of our hospitals where the heavier equipment is. And if they’re in a healthier situation, not dealing with COVID-19, maybe some of them could be moved into these temporary facilities.
What’s going on — where’s the progress on that? What can you tell us?
NAVARRO: Yes, Martha, it’s not really my lane on that.
MACCALLUM: I understand.
NAVARRO: But what I can tell you is that there’s action — quick action within the Pentagon working with the White House on those kind of things.
What I can tell you, though, is on Saturday, I got another call where he had to get some swabs for testing over from Europe here, and we got the Pentagon basically to send a mil-air (ph) flight over to where we needed, FedEx volunteered some — some of its own delivery planes.
That plane landed —
MACCALLUM: That’s great.
NAVARRO: — military plane landed in Memphis. FedEx picked them up, and we were able to disperse 850,000 swabs across this country. So —
MACCALLUM: Well, that’s good.
NAVARRO: — Pentagon is engaged, and we’re engaged.
MACCALLUM: Last question for you is, you know, sort of the big picture that I opened the show with tonight, in terms of that national anxiety.
What’s the mood at the White House on how to approach that? Because one of the things that’s going to happen with all those additional swabs and all the additional testing is something that we’ve all said and we know, but when you start seeing it happening, it’s unnerving, and that’s a big increase in the number of positives out there in the testing.
What — what are you all trying to do to sort of help people deal with the anxiety of those rising numbers?
NAVARRO: Well, we have essentially a wartime president now, and the war is against this coronavirus. We know what we need to do. We need to flatten that curve.
And we’re confident, working together with the American people, doing what the CDC recommends, with government and with business, that we’re going to get through this to the other side of it. We are very strong people.
I can tell you this, Martha, we’re doing everything possible, working 24/7 either here or through telecommuting. And it’s going to be — be fine. We’ve just got to work to get this through.
NAVARRO: Everybody’s got to pull together. There can’t be any dissension in the ranks.
The other big thing, Martha — I’ve got to say this — we’ve got to get that $1.2 trillion stimulus through in a matter of days, not weeks, not months. That has to happen now, because we know we’re going to have tremendous headwinds in the second quarter.
We — to get through that and have a good bounce back, we need $1.2 trillion. The president is asking for that. I think there’s basically support for that on both sides of the aisle. They have to figure out what exactly that looks like.
But I’m telling you, take days, not weeks —
NAVARRO: — get this done.
MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, just the cash that goes back into people’s pockets that we heard the Treasury secretary talking about today, when they don’t have anywhere to spend it — you know, how confident are you all that that’s going to provide a good stimulus if — there’s no restaurants, there’s no movie theaters, there’s no Broadway shows?
MACCALLUM: You know, where does the money go?
NAVARRO: Well, there’s — there’s a number of options on the table. One is a payroll tax cut, which would be a sustained level of support through the end of the year. The other is these instant rebates. And there’s a lot of things in between.
Here’s the thing, Martha — I’ve advocated a multi-vector approach where we have a targeted relief program, like the Pelosi bill was passed where you helped sick — people who — you don’t want people to have a choice of going to work sick or staying home broke. So, that’s — that’s one vector.
NAVARRO: You’ve got the fiscal stimulus, $1.2 trillion. Some form of that. You have what the Fed did with lowering interest rates but also opening the window for emergency lending. You need to do that. And then you need the industry assistance.
And so, if you do all four of those things — I’ve got to stress this, Martha. It’s like Congress needs to understand, you can’t just do one — one of those things or two of those things. You’ve got to have all four points to those combined (ph).
NAVARRO: The President is adamant about this, and if we do this within days, we’re going to be just fine economically.
The most important thing is the public health emergency, though.
NAVARRO: And that’s why I’m working on the supply chain stuff.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for what you’re doing. Peter Navarro, thank you. Good to see you tonight.
NAVARRO: Yes, ma’am.
MACCALLUM: Thank you.