Donald Trump created a major international incident with China today when he called the President of Taiwan in his self identified role as “president-elect” of the United States. The move in and of itself may be his most disconcerting and disastrous since the election, prompting widespread criticism and outright shock among the American public. But it’s only half the story. Trump made the phone call to the Taiwanese leader even as he’s pursuing real estate development there.
The specific contents of Donald Trump’s phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan are not yet entirely known. But according to a recent report out of Shanghai, which has also been referenced by USA Today, it appears that Trump is currently in the midst of pursuing an expansion of his hotel empire into Taiwan. This points to the strong possibility, even likelihood, that he was willing to drive a wrecking ball into the stability of relations between the United States and China for the sake of getting a hotel built. It would represent a gross misuse of his title of “president-elect” – and it would be at least the second time he’s done something similar since the election.
Donald Trump spoke with the President of Argentina in late November, and just three days later, his long stalled hotel project there was suddenly underway. But at least that phone call was merely financially corrupt, and didn’t create an international incident. As the world awaits China’s likely explosive response to Trump’s phone call to the Taiwanese President, the fact that this was apparently all over a hotel deal makes the matter even more disturbing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report