White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro says the good news is early returns are causing optimism that the deal will be finished.
After Vice President Mike Pence blasted the NBA for refusing to speak against the Chinese government, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Friday that he believes the controversy has led to an “epiphany” for the American people.
“If anybody didn’t understand what China is about now, this has penetrated down to people who focus on sports and they’re going, ‘This isn’t right. It’s just not right,’” Navarro told “America’s Newsroom.”
Navarro’s observation came after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he hoped the league can “bring people together,” following Pence’s comments that the NBA was acting as a “wholly owned subsidiary of China.”
During a speech Thursday afternoon, Pence accused the NBA of siding with China in “silencing free speech” nearly three weeks after a tweet from Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey supported pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The tweet started a firestorm that engulfed the league as it prepared to open the 2019-20 season with a preseason trip to China.
Silver said he was unclear about the overall financial impact the controversy has had on the NBA. He noted Chinese state television suspended broadcasts while the country’s streaming service, Tencent, has put some games back on the platform. He tried to make the larger point that the current issues between the U.S. and China have “absolutely nothing to do with the NBA.”
Silver has supported Morey’s right to speak freely but has stated that he regretted the outcome of the tweet.
He claimed last week that the Chinese government urged him to remove Morey from his position as the team’s general manager and boasted that he resisted the request. Chinese officials took offense Silver’s allegation and denied making the demand.
State media vowed “retribution” for Silver’s alleged lies. Navarro, who’s been at the center of the Trump administration’s contentious trade negotiations with Beijing, called Pence’s speech “magnificent and said the NBA’s reaction to Morey’s tweet was a “ratification of repression worldwide.”
“This has been an epiphany for the American people. The fact that China is trying to export its authoritarian rules and regulations to the American people by muzzling the NBA. People finally get it,” Navarro said.