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White House trade adviser Peter Navarro got into a heated debate with CNN host Brianna Keilar after she objected to his focus on the previous administration’s culpability for the coronavirus pandemic.
Keilar asked Navarro why the Trump administration was unprepared for the pandemic when he replied that it was the Obama administration that was to blame for medical shortages.
“Peter, in fairness, the government was clearly ill-prepared for this, this is not something that, you know, viruses happen, and how awful they are, but they are things that happen, your government knew in the summer when it did a drill that this, if this happened, this would be a problem, and there was a lack of preparation, which is why we have you on to talk about the supply chain,” she asked.
“Sure, and may I comment on that?” Navarro answered.
“Right now,” Keilar interrupted, “it looks like the capacity for the U.S. is gonna be about 200,000 ventilators and what experts are saying is there could be a million needed, so are you going to be able to meet that demand?”
“So first of all,” he said.
“And is the president aware that relaxing restrictive measures is gonna mean that you need more than that?” she interrupted.
“Let me, let me bring you up on the history here of what we inherited,” Navarro responded. “In ’09 when the Biden, Obama administration had the H1N1 flu crisis, that should have been a wake-up call.”
“Peter, why are you wasting your time on this and not solving the problem that you have?” she interrupted. “Peter, why are you even talking about this?”
“You made the claim that this administration was ill-prepared,” he answered.
“I did not!” she denied.
“Run the tape, I just heard that!” he said.
“I mean, that is a fact, Peter,” Keilar replied. “That is a fact!”
“Why do I respond to you and you keep interrupting me?” he protested.
Navarro explained how the Obama administration left the country unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, but Keilar objected to his argument.
“You’re wasting everyone’s time with this. It’s 2020. The president was elected in 2016. Can you get to a million ventilators?” she asked.
Navarro said that the claim that the U.S. needed a million ventilators was “way way way out of proportion.”
Navarro is known for his criticism against the repressive government of China, especially in the area of trade relations.
Here’s the video of the debate: