Is Secretary of State John Kerry feeling a little melancholy and left out? President-elect Trump’s transition team hasn’t called him for input.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday it would be valuable for President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to seek State Department recommendations before contacting foreign leaders but that it had yet to do so.
“We have not been contacted before any of these conversations. We have not been requested to provide talking points,” Kerry said during a question-and-answer session at a think tank conference.
Maybe it’s just me but having watched this election unfold and having witnessed Donald Trump’s bull-in-the-China-shop (pun intended) approach to things, I find it difficult to imagine a situation where he would seek the counsel of John Kerry.
“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 work 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,” Kerry added.
“I think that’s valuable, and I would certainly recommend it, but, obviously, that hasn’t happened in a few cases.”
Kerry is obviously referring to the phone call Trump had with the President of Taiwan.
Trump’s call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday triggered a diplomatic protest from China and raised questions about whether the Republican president-elect might be signaling a change to U.S. policy. Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied that on Sunday, describing it as a “courtesy call.”
The telephone conversation was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China.”
Senator Ted Cruz has expressed some support for Trump’s handling of Taiwan, but the support was of the “at least he didn’t do what Obama did” variety. RedState’s Patterico isn’t ready to treat that call as a signal or a geopolitical chess move. It may have just been a rookie mistake.
If we all believed that this was a deliberate move by Trump to signal a different policy towards China and Taiwan, that would be one thing. One might even admire it . . . with some trepidation. After all, Taiwan should have a right to its independence, right? The U.S. should respect that and recognize that, right?
But instead, I can’t shake the feeling that Trump just didn’t bother to read his briefing books and had no idea of the significance of what he was doing
That would probably be John Kerry’s assessment too. That’s the challenging aspect of all the 2016 political upheaval. You sometimes find yourself in agreement with people whose opinions you would normally dismiss reflexively.