Conway: Trump’s talk with Taiwan leader ‘just a call,’ not a sign of policy shift
Donald Trump senior adviser KellyAnne Conway on Sunday defended the president-elect’s decision to take a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president, saying Trump is routinely briefed on international intelligence reports and is not signaling plans to change U.S. foreign policy.
“It’s just a phone call,” Conway, a Trump transition team adviser, told “Fox News Sunday.” “President-elect Trump is not out there making policy or policy prescriptions.”
Trump, a first-time elected official with no official foreign policy experience, talked Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking with decades-long diplomatic tradition.
Washington has pursued a so-called “One China” policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland.
Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.
China on Saturday filed a diplomatic protest about the call, which it blamed on Taiwan.
Conway said Trump is “fully aware of the One China policy” and that he is routinely briefed by foreign policy and military experts, amid reports he doesn’t take daily State Department briefings.
And she accused the media of “cherry picking” about who has called Trump, a Republican, to congratulate him on his upset win over 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Conway, who became Trump’s campaign manager in the final stages of the White House race, argued that the president-elect and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have received such a call from 49 or 50 other world leaders.
“That’s just not fair,” she said.
Conway also said that if the conversation with Tsai sends any signal, it’s that Trump accepted a congratulatory call.
“I know that China has a perspective on this,” she said. “The White House and State Department probably have a perspective on it, and certainly Taiwan has a perspective on it. But the president-elect’s perspective is that he accepted a congratulatory call. And when he’s sworn in as president and commander in chief in a little over a month, he will make clear what the fullness of his plans are.”
Conway suggests that the outrage over the call shows many Americans’ unwillingness to accept Trump as their president and to give him a chance, which includes Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s three-state, vote-recount effort.
“Give it up,” she said to Stein. “Even your friends at the Clinton campaign said it won’t change the results.”
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