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Trump’s assistant discusses possible outcomes of election

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Just days before the general election, one of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers touted what the commander in chief has done for manufacturing, trade, energy and industry.

Peter Navarro, assistant to the president, addressed those issues during a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon with The Sentinel’s sister publication, the (Washington, Pa.) Observer-Reporter. He spoke from a national perspective, but much of his focus was on Pennsylvania, a state that could be pivotal as to whether Trump, a Republican, will win reelection, or be trumped by Democrat Joe Biden.

“I think this White House is different. The idea is that all job creation is local,” said Navarro, who referred several times to the Buy American and Hire American executive order the president signed in 2017.

Navarro also is director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, an office that produced the Pennsylvania Report, outlining presidential accomplishments in the Keystone State. The report, in summary, criticizes former President Barack Obama on regulations, trade negotiations and tax policies; says Trump’s lifting of regulations on oil and gas have boosted fracking and the natural gas industry; and that deregulation, under the current administration, has supported the struggling coal industry.

“Coal mining has been an uphill battle, but since President Trump took office, jobs have increased,” Navarro said.

Fracking has been a divisive topic during the campaign. Navarro is a proponent.

“A key driver is the America fracking industry,” he said. “Pennsylvania has the Marcellus Shale, which sweeps like a crescent from the southwestern corner to (northeastern part of the state). There are (thousands) of fracking wells, and an astronomical number of people are employed because of it.”

Biden has been knocked for saying he was opposed to fracking, although he has repeatedly explained in recent weeks that he is against it on public land.

If Biden wins, Navarro said, “that will be the end of fracking in Pennsylvania as we know it. The question is whether it’s within a year or a few years. If Biden and Harris are in, you can kiss goodbye the Philadelphia shipyard, the York combat vehicle plant.”

Navarro, who also is policy coordinator of the national Defense Production Act, supports the Trump-imposed tariffs, which have been criticized in some quarters.

“There were some skeptical of the president’s use of tariffs,” he said, “but people think this is the best defense against unfair trade practices by other countries. We’ve seen manufacturing and supply chains coming back to America.”

Navarro, 71, added that steel tariffs “have been great for Pennsylvania.”

He has been with the president since 2016, when Navarro served as an economic policy adviser to Trump’s campaign for the White House.

Navarro spoke one week before Election Day, during a stretch drive in which the Trump administration has ramped up its presence in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State is a key battleground state in the president’s campaign for reelection.

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Tuesday toured a natural gas well site in Washington County operated by Range Resources, and was scheduled to lead a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh.

Trump himself had five rallies in Pennsylvania last month, then, after fighting off the coronavirus, had one in Erie last week and another in Johnstown two weeks ago. Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania on Monday as he visited the Allentown, Lancaster and Martinsburg.

And the president’s son, Eric, visited the American Legion post in Washington, Pa. on Sept. 10.

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