'So yes, I do blame the Chinese' for coronavirus pandemic: Peter Navarro

George Stephanopoulos interviews Peter Navarro on "This Week."
13:04 | 05/17/20

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Transcript for 'So yes, I do blame the Chinese' for coronavirus pandemic: Peter Navarro
beaches on memorial day. We are not opening beaches in the near-term. It is not safe. It is not the right thing to do in the epicenter of this crisis. So that decision, I did not make it lately. We fought long and hard about it, but we continue to watch indicators which don't have us where we need to be yet. We will be very smart and careful about this. So what will happen is we are going to take it one week and one day at a time to figure out where we are going. I've never ruled out the possibility of beaches being open later in the summer, but we aren't ready yet. In the scene that you see over there, that's a typical beach day when things are normal, that cannot happen anytime soon. That is what we are guarding against, because you would see a lot of people in danger and the spread of the disease and we won't let that happen after all of the progress we've made fighting back the disease. We aren't taking that chance. That is just the beach, imagine the scene on the a train with people going out to the rockaways or any other train where people go to the beach or buses, we will not allow that crowding to happen. So the word is no, not yet. Not now. Beaches are not open for swimming, they are not open for the normal things people do in beach season. So there will not be swimming, there will not be lifeguards on duty. We will treat this immediate phase the way we do the times of years when beaches are not open. For now, we will leave at the latest. If someone wants to from the local community walk on the beach, that is okay. We will let that happen for now. But if we start to see people congregating, if we see people swimming and doing things that literally go against everything we talked about in terms of health and safety, then we will take further measures. We are putting fencing in and in reserve, that could close off the beaches if needed. It is certainly not something I want to do city hall wants to do. I know that the parks department doesn't want to do it, but we will be ready if we have to. So what you will see in the coming days is fencing put in place ready to be implanted. In the meantime, a lot of NYPD presence and parks department presence and you can go every day new yorkers through the neighborhoods around the beach, just like now, you want to walk on the beach or sit on the beach, fine, but no swimming, no parties, no sports, no gatherings. We are going to give people a chance to get it right. I believe in new yorkers and everything you've done. If people don't get it right and we start to see a lot of violations of the rules, up will come fences close enough beaches. No one wants that, but we are ready to do it if that's what it takes to keep people safe. In the meantime, we prepare for better times and we don't know the day. In the future, we may be able to open the beaches the right way and will have lifeguards trained and ready. We will be ready for that eventuality, but we are not there yet. Let me do the daily indicators. Again, this makes the point, progress but not enough progre. Yesterday, we definitely had a good day, but not a perfect day, because two indicators down and one up, but only by a little. Today is a good day but not a perfect day, but a good day. Two indicators down and one unchanged. Indicator number one, the daily number people admitted for suspected covid-19 unchanged, 77 to 77. Number two, the daily number of people in the icu for suspected covid-19 is down in a big way, this is really displaying good news and very important for all of those folks fighting for their lives down from 562 469. And the percentage of people testing positive for covid-19 down from 13% to 11%. A good day particularly in terms of the icu and we want even better days and we want to see them strung together consistently. Mayor Diblasio announcing that the beaches in the city will not open in the near-term saying it is not safe. You cannot swim but you can walk on the beach and sit on the sand for a while and if people start to congregate in people abuse the ability to just take in the sand, they will be forced to fence off the beaches. The fencing will go in this week. It will be up to us to determine whether or not the fencing needs to go to the entrances. A couple of announcements on testing the capacity to do diagnostic test across the city increasing to 123 testing sites across New York City. All of the five boroughs, 20,000 diagnostic tests will be available per day from the city and no costs and antibody testing 140,000 antibody test available for new yorkers and the one at 40,000 available for first responders. For more on how to sign up, go to nyc.govantibody survey. An update on the mysterious inflammatory illness affecting children, 137 cases detected in the city. City six of the children testing positive for covid-19 antibodies and one child has died. To continue watching mayor, go to trump, the only president in modern history to stand up to China. Going into November, what this is about, it's not going to be about the pandemic it's going to be about jobs. You know, you keep talking about -- we're going to talk about the economy. You keep talking about China. All during the month of February, as I said, the president was continuing to praise China, president XI of China, trying to work out that trade deal with China. Wanted to preserve that, wanted to preserve the gains in the stock market. President trump was praising China all through the month of February and, you know, there's a lot of evidence that those lost weeks made a difference. So, first of all, I think it's great that we have a president who can get along with all world leaders. That's number two. Number two, there's no lost weeks. This starting gun for the China pandemic started on January 30th when president trump had the courage to pull down the flights from China, that was an enormously courageous decision. He took a lot of heat from that. From that day, we were moving on three vectors of attack in February -- vaccine development, development of therapeutics like remdesivir and building up the capacity for things like n95 masks, and the work we did throughout February has borne beautiful fruit here in the spring, because what we saw on Friday in the rose garden was the announcement of a 14-company race to a vaccine, with the goal of December, what we have seen is therapeutics like remdesivir already going into hospitals right now to save American lives and we had a company like Honeywell building two factories in five weeks, George, instead of nine months. Five weeks -- that's trump time, to produce 20 million n95 masks a month. Don't tell me we lost February. Because I was there, I'm right here, and this president was directing us to move as quickly as possible, even as publicly we were trying to figure out in the fog of war just how serious this pandemic would be. You know, you mentioned what was going on in the month of February, and it's true according to all accounts you were working quite hard in the month of February including the accounts of whistle-blower Richard bright. Talk about several meetings with you in the month of February on all of the issues that you just mentioned. He said you and he were allies on this trying to break through roadblocks coming from HHS and other parts of the government. Now you call him a deserted in the war against the virus, why? Well, let's be clear about this. I'm -- I report directly to the president. I'm one of the top five policy advisers to the president. So everything I was doing, with the help of Rick bright and others during February, was the trump white house, all transparent with the task force. Here's what happened with Rick bright and it's an American tragedy, George. This guy is quite talented. But he was asked to be the field commander over at nih, to storm the testing hill, instead of accepting that mission, he deserted. He went into a foxhole, wrote up the complaint and now he's part of a capitol hill partisan circus where he's just become another pawn in the game. The tragedy is, George, this man has talent. He's a smart man. We could have used him on the battlefield. He's not there now and it's because of the decisions that he made. It's a shame, George. His expertise is in vaccine. They're putting him in diagnostic testing. Why shouldn't a vaccine expert be working on vaccines. Here's the thing, George, I've been with the president since the campaign. I came here to do trade policy. What am I now, a conscript in the war on the virus? Do I complain? No, that's my mission for this president, for this country. We do what we have to do for this country. Rick bright made a choice, he could have been making a tremendous contribution over at nih to testing and you and others have been complaining about testing. He could have been the field general and now he's off the battlefield and it was by his own choice, sir. Let's talk about the economic response, we saw some tough numbers at the end of the week on jobs, on manufacturing, on retail sales. The house passed that $3 trillion, the next stimulus package on Friday, is that a basis for negotiation? Is the president prepared to sign another relief package? So, Nancy Pelosi basically lost me with that package when she has $1200 checks for illegal immigrants, and it just goes downhill from there. What we have to do, George, is basically go with the fiscal and monetary stimulus that we have been going through. We have a lot coursing through the system now. We may need more. I'll let others negotiate that. What I'm focused on -- Chairman Powell says we do need more. What I'm focused on, George, and this is the real key to success -- is going to be the structural adjustments we have to make. We're going to have replace that with manufacturing jobs, which do have a high multiplier in terms of creating service sector jobs again. So what I'm focused on with president trump is a buy America, deregulate, innovate agenda, which will start bringing our pharma supplies homes, bringing our medical supplies home. Build it here. Both good economics, but also good national security, and from there, we're going to fan out and basically this president going back to him as a candidate promised to bring our jobs home, that's going to be key to the future with innovation. Ib novation is going to be the key. The general motors plant for ventilators went up in 17 days in kokomo, Indiana, through innovation. They not only assembled that factory in 17 days, they took 700 components of the supply chain to make up the ventilator, use their manufacturing might to rereplicate that. That was a miracle, George. We can replicate that throughout this economy, repurposing our factories, this is the jobs' president, the innovation president, the manufacturing president and this is how we're going to get through the other end of this crisis here. Finally, sir, I want to get that firing of the state department inspector general on Friday night, Steve linick. Fourth inspector general removed by the president in the last several weeks. What do you say to democratic critics who say what the president is unz mining any of idea of independent oversight? That's way out of my lane here. The president has the legal authority to do that. What I can tell you, George, based on my experience here, there's a bureaucracy out there. A lot of people in that bureaucracy. Tremendous problem with some people call it the deep state. I think that's apt. I don't mourn the loss of people when they leave this bureaucracy. There's always going to be somebody better to replace them, someone more loyal to the trump agenda, that's what's important. The trump agenda. This president has transformed the Republican party into the party of the working class. I'm here because the president loves creating good jobs for Americans. Who work with their hands. Anybody in this bureaucracy, who hates buy America or bring our supply chains home, they don't really belong here. I support whatever this president does in terms of his hiring and firing decisions. Peter Navarro, thank you for your time this morning. Up next, the democratic

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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