Politics

'You can't fix stupid' — Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro rips Kodak executives as dumbest ever

Key Points
  • White House trade advisor Peter Navarro blasted executives at Eastman Kodak for their handling of a government loan to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the United States.
  • "Based on what I'm seeing, what happened at Kodak was probably the dumbest decisions made by executives in corporate history," Navarro said.
  • "You can't fix 'stupid,'" he added.
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White House trade advisor Peter Navarro on investigation into Kodak trading activity

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro blasted executives at Eastman Kodak on Monday for their handling of a government loan to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the United States.

"Based on what I'm seeing, what happened at Kodak was probably the dumbest decisions made by executives in corporate history," Navarro said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." 

"You can't fix 'stupid,'" Navarro added. "You can't even anticipate that degree of stupidity." 

The $765 million government loan to Kodak has been put on pause as the Securities and Exchange Commission investigates the company's disclosure of the deal, which was officially announced on July 28. 

Shares of the Kodak, known for producing camera film, skyrocketed on news of the pharmaceutical loan. The stock had been languishing around $2 per share for months but surged as high as $60 per share the day after the deal.

However, trading activity of Kodak's stock picked up significantly the day before the official announcement. Questions also have been raised about the timing of stock options granted to Kodak's executive chairman, Jim Continenza. 

In Monday's interview, Navarro said the investigation of potential wrongdoing by Kodak should run its course. "We don't know why that happened or what they did. Let the investigation happen. Kodak's doing an internal one as well, but we're moving forward. We're not looking in the rearview mirror."

"I've got 30 projects on my board across the street," added Navarro, who has touted the importance of relocating the pharmaceutical supply chain in the U.S., especially in a coronavirus world.

A representative for Kodak declined to comment.

Kodak shares were down more than 9% Monday, trading around $7.65.

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