A top White House trade policy advisor is using his fictional alter ego to drive discussions about the dispute with China, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Long time China hawk Peter Navarro has circulated a policy memo written by “Ron Vara,” a fictional expert Navarro has quoted in multiple books.

The latest bizarre twist in an unconventional White House, Navarro’s character said Trump could calm jittery investors by publicly backing away from a deal with Beijing: “Get uncertainty out of the market by announcing NO deal until after the election and ride the tariffs to victory.”

The New York Times said Navarro confirmed the authenticity of the memo, which was sent from an email address purportedly belonging to Ron Vara – an anagram of “Navarro.”

Navarro cited Ron Vara as an expert more than a dozen times in five of his 13 books, where he offered searing critiques of China, and the fabrication was discovered by an Australian scholar in October.

– AFP