Report: Trade Hardliner Sidelined Under Kelly

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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A trade hardliner and top White House adviser is reportedly not able to meet privately with the president due to White House chief of staff John Kelly, according to a Monday report from Politico.

Peter Navarro, a top White House trade adviser loyal to Trump’s “America First” agenda, has reportedly encouraged Trump to back out of several trade agreements.

“The president may be the only one in the building besides Navarro who really wants to renegotiate NAFTA. Everyone else thinks that’s a throwaway line from a campaign speech,” Roger Stone, a Trump confident, told Politico.

The report said that Navarro once had weekly private meetings with Trump to talk trade, and that Kelly has not allowed them to continue since becoming chief of staff in late July. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders all but confirmed the block in a statement to Politico. (RELATED: Kelly Is Blocking Negative Amnesty Coverage From Trump)

“He’s presenting his case, both parties are walking through the policy together, and meetings are taking place and some of those conversations are being thought through more thoroughly before they go to the president, so it’s not a debate in front of the president, but more a laying out of the vision,” Sanders said.

She added, “The president has never been shy that it’s an America-first policy when it comes to trade.” Trump has largely followed through on his campaign promises to reorient American trade policy. His administration pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and has begun the process of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.