Trump White House official Marc Lotter clapped back at Peter Navarro after Mr. Navarro’s scathing column about a conservative think tank launched by former Trump advisers.
“It’s disappointing that Peter, a former Hillary Clinton supporter is turning into the D.C. swamp creature that he’s so long opposed,” said Mr. Lotter, chief communications officer of the America First Policy Institute.
“If he would actually read on our website, he would see just reams of research and policy proposals that continue the success of the Trump policies, including the President’s tough on China stance and continuing the Trump China tariffs. So, it’s just misguided, and I would have expected better from him.”
Mr. Lotter was director of strategic communications for the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign and served as a special assistant to the president and press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence in the White House.
Mr. Navarro, a key voice on trade in the prior administration, says former President Donald Trump should cancel plans to speak Tuesday at an AFPI event because, according to Mr. Navarro, the think tank is not devoted to the former president’s ideology.
Writing for the American Greatness publication, he said the policy panels feature experts who contradicted Mr. Trump in the past or worked with persons who are not aligned with the MAGA movement.
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This included a senior adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney and the chief of staff to former national security adviser John Bolton, who clashed with Mr. Trump after leaving his White House post.
Mr. Navarro also wrote that former Energy Secretary Rick Perry was on the edges of the first impeachment charge against Mr. Trump related to the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Yes, it is important for President Trump to have a well-credentialed stable of policy experts capable of both building a 2024 platform and finding solid MAGA talent to populate a new Trump Administration. But the AFPI Trojan Horse — whose leadership is now bragging about how it will staff Trump’s ‘shadow cabinet’ — is decidedly not that,” Mr. Navarro wrote.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak to the America First Policy Institute, which shares a name with Mr. Trump’s campaign mantra, on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Lotter said he did not know why Mr. Navarro decided to attack his former White House colleagues.
“I can’t speak for Peter’s motivations, but I know that a lot of the people who are affiliated with AFPI had a long working relationship with him,” he said. “I had a long working relationship with him, and it’s just disappointing to have him make this term.”