Until he joined the Trump administration, conservative economist Peter Navarro was a tariff “purist” — a position CNN host Erin Burnett brought up Thursday evening when the White House trade czar defended the president’s latest stock market-depressing decision.
Navarro tried to claim that President Donald Trump imposing a $50 billion dollar tariff on China didn’t cause Thursday’s multiple-hundred point stock market drop, but the host cut him off.
“You and I both know the tariffs are the big reason the market fell 700 points,” Burnett said. “It could go up tomorrow, but let’s just be real.”
After blaming “bullish” market predictions on the dramatic stock drop and touting the importance of a “tariff regime” to boost American aluminum and steel trades, Burnett came back at Trump’s trade chief with a clip of him espousing the opposite opinion on tariffs in a CNN interview aired earlier in March.
“You mention aluminum and steel,” the host said. “And you’ve been a purist on this issue for as long as I’ve known you, which as you point out goes many years back. You believed in those steel and aluminum tariffs, part of why you joined this administration, and you fought for them. You’ve been consistent.”
“So when you say tariff,” she continued, “you mean a tariff on everybody, and you said that very directly here on CNN earlier this month.”
Burnett then played a clip of Navarro during a March 4 interview arguing that allowing any exemptions to tariffs would create a “slippery slope.”
“It’s such a slippery slope that we’re going down a black diamond,” the host said, listing off the half-dozen countries who are exempt from Trump’s controversial heavy metal tariffs.
When she asked Navarro how he took the exemptions, the trade czar exclaimed that he’s “ecstatic.”
“They’re temporary exemptions,” he said as the host raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
Watch below, via CNN: