Peter Navarro, a trade advisor for the Trump administration, published Death by China in 2011, but now Navarro’s publishers are attaching an addendum to the book to warn readers it contains quotes from a made-up character.
image via the new york times
One of Navarro’s key sources used in Death by China has been outed as being fake. Navarro frequently cites a Harvard-trained economist named Ron Vara with a backstory that strangely parallels Navarro’s own life. You might also have noticed that “Ron Vara” is an anagram of “Navarro.” Well, turns out there is not Ron Vara and, in fact, Navarro frequently used the pseudonym to plug gaps in his book on economic policy and China. Navarro would often speak through Vara about the supposed dangers of Chinese imports:
Only the Chinese can turn a leather sofa into an acid bath, a baby crib into a lethal weapon, and a cellphone battery into heart-piercing shrapnel.
image via amazon.com
Navarro responded to the controversy by saying that his use of a fake source was used as a “whimsical device” and “at no time was the character used improperly as a fact source.” Navarro has tried to play off his using Vara as a fun inside joke. His publisher, however, is a little bit more concerned. New editions of Death by China will have warnings attached to let readers know of the circumstances surrounding Navarro’s use of Ron Vara as a source.
I wrote a story this week about how Peter Navarro, a Trump adviser, quoted a made-up character in his books. I just got an email from Pearson, which published his book Death by China. They’re not cool with what Navarro did. pic.twitter.com/jzX47O31T5
— Tom Bartlett (@tebartl) October 17, 2019
Featured image via The Straits Times