Peter Navarro. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Top Trump administration economic adviser Peter Navarro made up an economist he has quoted regularly in his books named Ron Vara, Tom Bartlett writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Those who know Navarro well, [Greg] Autry says, were fully aware that Ron Vara was a phony source who often popped up in his books. He said Vara was Navarro’s 'alter ego,' an 'everyman character' who dispenses cutesy business aphorisms as well as dire warnings about Chinese food."
  • Ron Vara happens to be an anagram of Navarro's last name.
  • That's just one of many interesting details about the character who Navarro once wrote placed short bets against the stocks of 2 nuclear power-reliant companies literally 2 days before the worst nuclear disaster in human history at Chernobyl.

There's more: Navarro similarly quoted Leslie LeBon when writing about the dangers of China, who a Google book search revealed is his wife.

Go deeper: Peter Navarro's radical transformation

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Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

3 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.