Peter Navarro Has Antagonized Multinational Companies. Now He’s in Charge.

Peter Navarro Has Antagonized Multinational Companies. Now He’s in Charge.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his use of the act was a form of “retaliation” against these companies.

“If people don’t give us what we need for our people, we’re going to be very tough, and we’ve been very tough,” he said. “Usually, we don’t have to use it, but we’ve used it plenty. It’s turning out more and more, unfortunately. And it works very well.”

In an interview, Mr. Navarro said he had spoken to hundreds of American executives, including from General Dynamics, Raytheon, Pernod Ricard, UPS, FedEx and Honeywell, as well as New York hospital and law enforcement personnel and Mayor Bill de Blasio, to try to ramp up production and surge supplies to hot spots.

The vast majority of executives had been eager to do whatever was asked of them, Mr. Navarro said. But he said Mr. Trump would not hesitate to take additional actions under the act to mobilize industry, allocate resources and prevent hoarding in the coming weeks. He also said Customs and Border Protection, working with the United States Postal Service, was prepared to begin seizing black-market exports of masks and other medical supplies.

Mr. Navarro said that the administration was using the authority of the Defense Production Act as a “helping hand” to assist companies, but that “when patriotic volunteerism or the invisible hand of the market isn’t working, you may need the visible foot of the D.P.A.”

He pointed to 3M, saying that the company had been unwilling to disclose information about the distribution of masks it produces around the world and to provide them to the American people.

“It basically wants to act like a sovereign nation in terms of what it allows the United States to have with its production, and where it wants to export its masks,” Mr. Navarro said. “And in this crisis, there is only one country and only one president.”


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