His comments followed a Wednesday report from The Washington Post alleging the trade adviser has a "harsh manner and disregard for protocol" that has "alienated numerous colleagues, corporate executives and prominent Republicans," according to 28 administration officials, congressional aides and others who spoke to the outlet.
"I'm the nicest guy in the world," Navarro said in an interview on FOX Business' "Varney & Co." "I view myself as a soldier for the greatest president in history ‒ President Donald Trump ‒ and particularly in this pandemic, my job is to do two things: to help this president save lives and help this president keep and create jobs, so that's what I focus on."
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro speaks with reporters at the White House, July 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Navarro gave the example of the Strategic National Stockpile, saying his team has helped "not only make it bigger and fill it but also make it smarter."
The House Oversight Committee is investigating all of Navarro's federal contract negotiations after the Trump administration abruptly ended Navarro's $646.7 million contract for 42,900 Philips ventilators. The committee alleges that the White House wasted "hundreds of millions of dollars" on the since-terminated contract.
"American taxpayers deserve to have their money well spent," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said in a statement. "The Subcommittee's investigation revealed that incompetent negotiations by top Trump Administration officials, like Peter Navarro, wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. This week, we clawed back more than $400 million from pandemic profiteers, and we’re coming for more," he added.
Navarro told FOX Business' Stuart Varney that he has "no comment on the investigation."
Ventilator tubes are attached to a patient suffering from COVID-19 on the Medical Intensive Care Unit floor, MICU, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center April 24, 2020. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
"The only thing I can tell you is that the contract was negotiated by Health and Human Services, and they began investigating Phillips before anything that happened at the House," he said.
Sarah Matthews, a deputy White House press secretary, told the Post in a statement that the "attacks" against Navarro are "without merit."
"Peter Navarro's highest priority during the last six months has been defeating the China virus and working to save lives, while creating thousands of jobs in the process," she said. "As Policy Coordinator, he's helped oversee the use of the Defense Production Act more than 80 times and pushed the interagency to work quicker and smarter. These attacks are without merit."
When Varney closed the interview by saying Navarro is a "tough guy," the trade adviser replied that being tough is "not a bad thing to be in D.C."