(The Hill) — Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro urged former President Donald Trump not to deliver his keynote speech at the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), criticizing members of the think tank’s staff and alleging they were working on a “‘Trumpism without Trump’ coup.”
Trump is set to deliver remarks on Tuesday at an AFPI summit, returning to Washington, D.C., for the first time in a year and a half amid speculation he will run for president again in 2024.
But Navarro said Trump should put off the speech despite the need to create a stable of policy experts.
“Yes, it is important for President Trump to have a well-credentialed stable of policy experts capable of both building a 2024 platform and finding solid MAGA talent to populate a new Trump Administration. But the AFPI Trojan Horse—whose leadership is now bragging about how it will staff Trump’s ‘shadow cabinet’—is decidedly not that,” Navarro wrote in an op-ed on the conservative website American Greatness.
The former Trump White House adviser slammed members of AFPI’s think tank and leadership, including former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former National Security Council Chief Fred Fleitz and former economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
“As I document in Taking Back Trump’s America, I had to fight Brother Larry on an almost daily basis, not just on trade policy but also in my efforts to advance Trump’s two most simple rules: buy American, hire American. And Kudlow worked hand-in-hand with several members of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), who now constitute the free trade core of AFPI’s economic experts,” he claimed in his op-ed.
Navarro also called those associated with AFPI “grifters” and claimed that their “broader agenda” might be to “hijack the political attractiveness of Trumpism but replace Trump with an AFPI-anointed RINO.”
Marc Lotter, chief communications officer for AFPI, slammed Navarro in an email to The Hill and noted Navarro’s previous support for Hillary Clinton.
“It is unfortunate to see Mr. Navarro, a former Hillary Clinton supporter, turning into the DC swamp creature he once abhorred. AFPI is led by nine former cabinet-level officials and nearly 20 senior White House officials from Trump’s White House,” Lotter said.
“As it relates to the other comments, AFPI is currently hosting a two-day summit laying out a detailed policy agenda for the future. The fact President Trump is closing this event shows his support for AFPI’s work to continue the policies that put America First!” he added.