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Tsai admin. 'shocked' when Trump agreed to phone call with Taiwan Pres.

Stephen Yates, a Trump campaign consultant, claims that he is largely responsible for the famous Trump-Tsai phone call

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Tsai Ing-wen making the famous phone call to Donald Trump (Image from the Office of the President)

Tsai Ing-wen making the famous phone call to Donald Trump (Image from the Office of the President)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A former Republican party official and a Trump campaign consultant, Steven J. Yates, has recently unveiled some interesting details concerning the famous 2016 phone call that took place between then U.S. President elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Yates claimed in a recent interview in Las Vegas with the Chinese Lutheran Society that he was instrumental in encouraging President Trump to accept the call from the Taiwanese leader.

Yates says that it is common in September and October for foreign leaders to send messages of encouragement to candidates before the election, and often the messages propose congratulatory calls in the event of victory.

According to Yates, the Tsai administration through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent out such a message to the Trump campaign without expecting any response. Yates says that there was a good deal of deliberation among campaign officials as to whether or not the campaign should respond to the message.

In the recent interview from Aug. 25, Yates claims that he persuaded the campaign to issue a response after Trump asked his opinion on the issue.

Tsai admin. 'shocked' when Trump agreed to phone call with Taiwan Pres.
Stephen Yates (Associated Press Image)

He says that when responding to MOFA, they were initially prepared for a rejection of the request or potentially a future discussion on the matter. However when they received an emphatic “Yes!” from the Trump campaign, Yates says they were completely stunned, and unsure of the next move.

According to Yates’ remarks made in the interview, the unexpected response and sudden uncertainty of the Tsai administration was part of why the call was delayed for two weeks following the official election results.

Yates says part of the delay was also because people lining up to congratulate or reach the president elect's ear were numerous. People trying to influence Trump’s China policy poured in fast, including Henry Kissinger, who would have tried to persuade Trump not to engage with the Taiwanese government.

Trump considers Tsai a democratically elected leader, and also recognizes all of the Taiwanese business partners in the U.S. according to Yates, and since the campaign had responded affirmatively, Trump felt obliged to take the call.

Considering business partners as “guests,” Trump considered his role in the situation as he would in the hotel management industry. “When you have a guest that wants to tell you congratulations, you accept the call!” said Yates, speaking of Trump’s attitude.

Previously, it was reported that a law firm with connections to former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole was responsible for arranging the phone call between Trump and Tsai. In the most recent interview, Yates does not mention Bob Dole, and it is unclear if Yates has any relationship to the law firm.

Previously Yates was reported to have said he knew Tsai's name was on Trump's list of foreign leaders to contact for at least a week following the election. "To my knowledge, Taiwan was on that list early, and it took some time to arrange,”Yates was quoted in December 2016.