Behold Peter Navarro's no-good terrible really horrendous interview on CNN Friday morning. I offer it here as a shining example of how NOT to conduct an interview when your boss is smack dab in the middle of an impeachment inquiry and just yesterday alluded to using a trade deal with China as leverage to extort them for dirt on his boss's political opponents.
Seriously, just don't.
We enter this interview halfway through, where anchor Jim Sciutto asks a basic question about the quagmire Donald Trump is in. Clearly from this answer, it's clear the rest of the interview will be a disaster, because Navarro is unprepared.
"We went through witch hunt part one for two and a half years," Navarro mewled. "Adam Schiff, sociopath, looked you in the eye and the American people in the eye and said irrefutable evidence of a Russia hoax."
By now we all know projection when we see it, don't we?
There is back and forth. Sciutto finally cuts to the chase.
"I'm asking you what the president said," Sciutto reminded. "I know that Adam Schiff has become a talking point for Republicans. The president said on the White House lawn yesterday, China should investigate an American."
Navarro tries to deflect! "I mean, we have a 3.5 percent unemployment rate. Impeach that."
Deflection hasn't worked, clearly. So Navarro tries another tactic: Non-sequiturs and puffery.
As the back-and-forth about China escalates, Navarro asked, "And -- and would you -- would you grant me a fact that this president is the greatest president in history standing up to China?"
Sciutto's answer was concise. "No."
More back and forth. How DARE Sciutto not bow down to God Trump, after all.
So Sciutto tries again. "Before we go -- before we go, well, someone like you has called out China for breaking the law, will you -- will you comment at all on your president calling on authoritarian China to investigate an American citizen?"
"No, I -- look, this is a --," Navarro gets out before Sciutto cuts him off.
"You'll -- you'll let that stand?"
From there, Sciutto is on the hunt and Navarro is on the ropes. At one point he tells Sciutto he just doesn't want to go into it, as if it's nothing pressing. And then he resorts to complaing about anonymous sources before Sciutto cuts the interview off. Every dodge is an old, tired talking point that everyone is tired of hearing, and so Sciutto cuts him off.
"When you have an answer to the questions, as opposed to attacking reporting, we'll welcome you back," he told Navarro firmly.
Overall, this interview was a disaster for Peter Navarro, who should never be allowed to do interviews again. His own dodging told viewers everything Jim Sciutto was asking about is true. But there was one omission and it's an important one. In every one of these interviews, viewers MUST be reminded that Trump has already admitted that he's extorting countries so he can get some dirt on his opponents. Failure to do that is malpractice.
Navarro's performance was awful, but I hope journalists make a habit out of pointing out Trump's admission of guilt over and over and over again. After all, when only 40 percent of Republicans think Trump mentioned Biden in the phone call notes Trump released, it's clear that point has to be repeated until it sinks in.