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Peter Navarro walks back statement implying trade deal between Trump, China is ‘over’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro indicated on “The Story” Monday that President Trump had decided to terminate the China trade deal before claiming his comments were taken “wildly out of context” as stock market futures tumbled more than 400 points.

Navarro and host Martha MacCallum were discussing claims in a forthcoming book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton that Trump delayed imposing sanctions on China over its policy of interning Uighur Muslims so as not to jeopardize a trade deal with Beijing.

“Do you think that the president — he obviously really wanted to hang on to this trade deal as much as possible and he wanted them [China] to make good on the promises because there had been progress made on that trade deal,” host Martha MacCallum told Navarro. “But given everything that’s happened … is that over?”

“It’s over,” Navarro told host Martha MacCallum.

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“Here’s, I think, the turning point,” he explained. “They came here on January 15th to sign that trade deal, and that was a full two months after they knew the virus was out and about.

“It was a time when they had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, and it was just minutes after wheels up when that plane took off that we began to hear about this pandemic.”

Navarro went on to compare China’s actions to the Japanese government holding peace talks with the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in late 1941, weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In a statement late Monday, Navarro said: ““My comments have been taken wildly out of context. They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place.  I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world.”

Trump also tweeted Monday evening, “The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!”

The trade agreement was meant to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies following a trade war that stemmed from accusations by Washington that China had for decades been manipulating its currency and stealing U.S. trade secrets.

Last month, Trump said that although the deal was just kicking in, he felt “very differently” about it since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in America. However, he stopped short of terminating the deal at the time.

“It just seems to mean less to me,” Trump told reporters at the time. “It was very exciting, one of the biggest deals ever made, but once the virus came in, I said, ‘How did they let that happen?’”

The administration has been mulling avenues to possibly punish or seek financial compensation from China for what it sees as withholding information about the virus.

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“I think that everybody here inside the perimeter and around this country now understands that China lied, and Americans died,” Navarro said Monday

The trade adviser added that the November election will likely boil down to three key issues “jobs, China, and law and order,” and said that Trump’s decision to end his long-touted trade deal proves that he “runs the table on all three of those, especially China.”

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman contributed to this report.

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