Donald Trump has chosen the author of Death by China and The Coming China Wars to lead a new national trade body, signaling that he isn't planning to budge on the anti-China rhetoric of the campaign trail. Economist Peter Navarro, a leading China hawk, has been appointed head of the White House National Trade Council, a move the transition team says shows Trump's "determination to make American manufacturing great again," the BBC reports. Navarro, 67, is a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He has long warned about globalization and was an adviser to the Trump campaign. The Wall Street Journal notes that labor groups will welcome the appointment, though some economists say Navarro is making elementary mistakes when he warns about China trade stifling US growth.
In another controversial Trump appointment Wednesday, billionaire investor Carl Icahn was named as a special adviser on regulatory issues, which the Journal notes has major implications in light of Trump's promises to get rid of 90% of federal regulations. Critics say there are clearly conflicts of interest in appointing a leading corporate investor to rewrite regulations affecting corporations, the New York Times reports. "The corrupt nature of this arrangement cannot be understated," a DNC spokesman said. "Voters who wanted Trump to drain the swamp just got another face full of mud." The Hill reports that the transition team says Icahn will be advising "in his individual capacity and will not be serving as a federal employee," meaning he will be exempt from conflict-of-interest regulations.