Taiwan Dispute Provides an Early Look at the Trump White House

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Here is the New York Times last week:

Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president.

Here is Donald Trump yesterday on Fox News:

I took a call. I heard the call was coming probably an hour or two before. I fully understand the One-China policy. But I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.

Knowing Trump, I think we can assume that “an hour or two” was more like 15 minutes. We can also assume that he had never heard of the One-China policy before that, since he typically defends himself only when he’s lying.

So: the China hawks on the Trump team worked on this for months; dumped it on Trump a few minutes ahead of the call; and counted on Trump having no idea what he was getting himself into. Plus one other thing: whenever Trump gets caught making a mistake, he doubles down and becomes more committed to his mistake with every passing day. They were probably counting on that too.

It’s Trump 101. This is how you handle the guy. I expect we’re going to see a lot more skullduggery like this in the White House over the next four years.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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