Anderson Cooper Friday pressed Kellyanne Conway over her coy response to news that the president-elect broke a 37-year old U.S. protocol to not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country, informing the former Donald Trump campaign manager that “this is uncharted waters.”
Cooper asked Conway about reports that Trump spoke today with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, shocking political observers and risking a major dispute with China. The Trump talking head said she wouldn’t comment further on the call beyond what has already been disclosed.
Cooper noted the diplomatic issues that arise from Trump’s call with Taiwan, noting “the U.S. doesn’t recognize Taiwan as its own nation, “doesn’t support Taiwan independence,” and a president “hasn’t apparently spoken to the leader of Taiwan since 1979.”
Referencing Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) tweet insisting “this is how wars start,” Conways responded, “It sounds like Senator Murphy’s tweet is pretty incendiary and does not signal much of a shift from what seems to be the documented Democratic response to the election results,” adding the senator’s statement “is pretty negative and presumptive.”
“This has been long-standing U.S. policy towards China—not to recognize Taiwan,” Cooper reminded her.
“Right,” Conway responded, pausing for dramatic effect. “Again, I can’t discuss anything beyond what’s been publicly said.”
Conway later insisted the president-elect is “well aware of the U.S. policy,” scolding Cooper for presuming that he’s not.
“I don’t remember any discussions ever being asked about President Obama or president-elect Obama eight years ago at this time,” Conway said.
“Well he’s never spoken to the president of Taiwan. It is new so that is why i’m asking,” Cooper explained.
Conway responded she’s “pretty sure” President Obama made diplomatic calls as president-elect, adding she “can’t imagine” the press was as outraged as they are presently to Trump.
“This is a break with U.S. policy,” Cooper said. “I mean this is uncharted waters, you know, for decades”
Conway dryly responded Trump is “fully briefed and fully knowledgable about these issues on an ongoing basis.”
Watch the video below, via CNN:
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