WH Trade Adviser: Liquor Company Volunteers to Make Hand Sanitizer 'In Trump Time, Quickly'

By Susan Jones | March 18, 2020 | 5:46am EDT
(Photo: Screen capture of Pernod-Ricard brands from the company's website)
(Photo: Screen capture of Pernod-Ricard brands from the company's website)

(CNSNews.com) - White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro on Tuesday described himself as a "soldier" who is making sure the supply chain works so the American people can get everything they need in these trying, infectious times.

Navarro said the emphasis is on producing things "here in America," and American companies are stepping up:

"So one of the things I did -- yesterday morning, I got a call from a company called Pernod Ricard. It makes alcohol. It makes alcoholic beverages," Navarro told Fox News's Martha MacCallum.

They had volunteered to make hand sanitizer using their alcohol. They had some obstacles. So I made three phone calls, one to Treasury, one to the FDA, one to HHS to clear their obstacles out of the way in Trump time -- quickly.

And today, we got a commitment, they're going to start producing on Friday, and over time, we're going to have 4,000 gallons a week, and they're going to be able to send it to the government at no cost.

That's the kind of beauty we're seeing as we have the full force of government and full force of business join hands to help the American people.

Navarro noted that Pernod Ricard will make the hand sanitizer in America -- at its facilities in West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Kentucky.

And Pernod Ricard is not the only company to offer help:

"I'll give you another example," Navarro said:

Honeywell offered on Friday -- they called my office, they say, look, we want to start producing within 30 days the face masks. We can open up a plant in Smithfield, Rhode Island. All we need to do is have you help us work with HHS to get the ball rolling.

So, on Friday, I said, OK, get your contract in, they got it in by that night. I called HHS over the weekend and said, yes, we're going to flip that within a couple of days. And already, we have Honeywell moving towards that.

So, what it looks like is having the appropriate incentives for our domestic industry to produce these things like face masks and hand sanitizer and all the things we need.

And what we need long term, Martha -- this is -- this is the problem that we face. The government does not buy American enough. The government, the V.A., HHS, DOD, tremendously large consumers of medicine, medical supplies and medical equipment.

And so, what we're -- I'm working with the president as we speak to get an executive order to the finish line which will provide long-term incentives for our companies to produce here.

And it's not -- this is not about China, because if you look at the dispersion of that chain, it's across the world. Europe, for example, Ireland surprisingly enough, Germany, Switzerland, we're heavily dependent on there -- India as well.

Navarro listed three things the nation must do now:

"Buy American" is first on the list.

"We're going to deregulate so we can get things here done faster. And most importantly, we're going to innovate to keep prices down...So, that's the big picture. We cannot keep having these public health crises and go back to sleep like the previous administrations have.

"This is going to be different this time, and we're going to get through this, and we're going to be in a better place over time because we're going to produce things here in America."

Navarro described Donald Trump as "essentially a wartime president," who is fighting an enemy virus.

"We know what we need to do," he said. "We need to flatten that (coronavirus outbreak) curve.

"And we're confident, working together with the American people, doing what the CDC recommends, with government and with business, that we're going to get through this to the other side of it. We are very strong people.

"I can tell you this, Martha, we're doing everything possible, working 24/7 either here or through telecommuting. And it's going to be -- be fine. We've just got to work to get this through."


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