Republican President-elect Donald Trump called Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen over the weekend, and Secretary of State John Kerry isn’t happy, according to a Monday CNN report.
Kerry would have preferred that Trump let the Department of State know he planned to talk to the president of Taiwan, because his staff would have given Trump a run down on the top issues to consider, according to Kerry.
“We have not been contacted before any of these conversations. We have not been requested to provide talking points,” Kerry said at the Saban Forum in Washington.
“I do think there’s a value, obviously, on having at least the recommendations, whether you choose to follow them or not is a different issue, but I think it’s valuable to ask people who’ve worked the desk and have worked it for a long period of time their input on what’s the current state, is there some particular issue at the moment. I think that’s valuable and I would certainly recommend it, but obviously that hasn’t happened in a few cases.”
Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway asserted that Trump does get information from knowledgeable sources, but didn’t feel the need to discuss the matter personally with Kerry.
“He reads everything. He’s the busiest guy on the planet. Pretty much has been for a while now,” Conway told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“He avails himself of any number of different information sources, including those that come from the State Department and including those that come from intelligence briefings.”
Kerry was careful not to actually say anything directly negative about the President-elect, choosing instead to avoid politics. “I’m really consciously working to stay a thousand miles away from the Trump transition process. I think it’s important for me to be able to brief whoever the final nominee is going to be for secretary of state and I don’t want to come at it with any engagements with any of the choices they are making publicly — I really think it’s better for me to stay out of the politics which I stayed out of for the four years,” Kerry said.
But Kerry cautioned that didn’t mean he is content to advise quietly during the Trump years. “We’re going to have one hell of a debate over the next few years, I can assure you,” Kerry said. “And I can promise you this, after coming back in the 1960’s and being involved in that period of time, I am not going to go quietly into the night.”
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