But the former White House trade adviser has been a regular guest on Steve Bannon’s show as well as Fox News, Newsmax and San Diego-based One America News.
His Twitter feed, with 139,000 followers, promotes his claims of a stolen presidential election and the “#CCPVirus” being a bioweapon.
And Tuesday, Navarro, 71, was the subject of a Politico scoop — fingering him as the author of a 15-page dossier falsely accusing exiled colleague Victoria Coates of being Anonymous — the author of a New York Times op-ed and a tell-all book. She wasn’t.
Last Aug. 28, he tweeted three times — about Joe Biden being soft on China “Tsunami of offshoring,” “Dems crossing THIN BLUE LINE between peaceful protests and anarchy/looting” and “Let’s always remember where the China Virus came from – CHINA!”
Not mentioned — signing an agreement that day to formally end his marriage to Laguna Beach architect Leslie LeBon, effective Dec. 31, 2020.
Navarro and LeBon have been tightlipped about the end of their 20-year union, including a separation that began a day before the November 2018 midterm elections. Neither has responded to numerous requests for comment.
Records from Orange County Superior Court suggest their split wasn’t the “lengthy and bitter divorce” described a year ago by the Daily Mail, a British tabloid.
In fact, Leslie Wynne Lebon — who filed for divorce Nov. 26, 2018 — is getting half of Peter Kent Navarro’s pension benefits and splitting several bank accounts. Both parties waived any right to spousal support.
In the decade before his Dec. 1, 2001, marriage to single mom LeBon, Navarro ran for office five times — as a Democrat. In 1992, he lost a runoff race to Susan Golding for San Diego mayor. He followed with failed runs at San Diego City Council, county Board of Supervisors and (in 1996) the 49th Congressional District.
His last race, in 2001, was a special election loss to fill the District 6 San Diego City Council seat.
All the while, he was an economics professor at UC Irvine, where he retired in 2016 while being tapped as a trade adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump.
He’s not expected back.
“Emeritus professors do not return to their previous professor positions unless they are recalled, which is a decision of the school,” said UCI spokeswoman Pat Harriman. “His last full academic year salary as a UCI professor in 2016 was $290,000.”
UC officials wouldn’t disclose his UC pension. Neither would the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — although his federal payouts are likely modest.
Falling short of five years’ White House service, Navarro wouldn’t ordinarily be entitled to a federal pension after making $183,000 a year as assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy (where he was dubbed “among the most important generals in Trump’s trade war”).
But his 1972-1975 postcollegiate service in the Peace Corps in Thailand makes him eligible for added FERS years.
“If the Peace Corps … service was performed before October 1, 1982, the employee receives credit for the service for both eligibility and annuity computation purposes,” the government says. “[A] deposit for such service is optional. However, if the deposit is not paid, the individual’s annuity will be reduced by 10% of the amount of deposit due.”
Navarro — who lectured at UC San Diego and the University of San Diego between 1985 and 1988 — was recruited to advise the presidential campaign after Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner saw “Death by China” (also a documentary) on Amazon.com.
That was one of a dozen books Navarro wrote. And the divorce deal stipulates that LeBon, who turns 60 on Saturday, gets half the “community property interest” in the books.
And in January 2021, their 3,323-square-foot Laguna Beach “marital residence” — with four bedrooms and many ocean views — sold for $2.93 million. They split the net proceeds.
LeBon will keep two modest homes in Troy, New York, says the 51-page divorce deal. Navarro keeps a 2014 Lexus ES 300H and six online courses, including one called “Managing Your Money: MBA Insights for Undergraduates.”
The online courses may account for several 2018 citations on ratemyprofessors.com.
“Prof Navarro is an amazing TEACHER,” said one economics student, rating him “awesome.” “I used to hate my major…. I took principles of Micro with him and he totally changed my paradigm. His lectures are CRYSTAL CLEAR and very simple to understand. He is highly recommendable.”
But two management students rated Navarro “awful.”
One said: “You have to spend your own money for ProctorU midterm/finals, and supplemental courses they also require in the class. Boring lectures but notes needed to do well on the quizzes.”
LeBon, reportedly a Republican, makes a point of not being tied to her ex-husband’s political beliefs.
A note on her business website says: “We are not associated with the Trump Administration. For all emails received regarding the Trump Administration, we will forward your email address to a politician of our choice and make a donation to them in your name.”