Donald Trump Speaks With Taiwan's Leader Sparking Potential Rift With China

ABC News' David Wright and Matt Dowd report the latest news on the president-elect's transition into the White House.
4:57 | 12/03/16

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Transcript for Donald Trump Speaks With Taiwan's Leader Sparking Potential Rift With China
country, thanks, Steve. This morning in politics Donald Trump defending his decision to accept a phone call from the president of Taiwan. That's something that no U.S. President or president-elect has done in nearly four decades. This controversy, it's all brewing as the trump team continues crisscrossing the country in what's being billed a thank you tour. ABC's David Wright is at trump tower with the latest. Hi. David. Reporter: Hi, Paula. Beijing this morning said it has lodged solemn representations to the U.S. Over that call and trump is now the first U.S. Leader to speak with the Taiwanese president since Jimmy Carter. It has the makings of a diplomat exincident and it's impossible to say right now whether this was a rookie mistake or a deliberate provocation. China is ripping us off. You know who is getting the oil, China. What China is doing to us is horrible. Reporter: On the campaign trail Donald Trump made a habit of promising to be a thorn in China's side. They are the greatest currency manipulators ever. Reporter: And now trump is keeping that promise with a simple phone call. By accepting a congratulatory call from Taiwan's president, president-elect trump broke four decades of U.S. Diplomatic tradition, ever since Nixon's visit to China in 1972, the U.S. Has had a one China policy, recognizing only one of the two countries that call themselves China. Overnight he tweeted defensively that Taiwan's president called me. Top aides won't say if the fact that he took the call signals a change in U.S. Policy. He's well aware of what U.S. Policy has been. Reporter: Trump has yet to announce his secretary of state. The top diplomat whose job it would be to smooth over any back feelings in beijing, one of seven cabinet seats yet to be filled. And trump is now taking flack from a possible pick for V.A. Secretary, Sarah Palin over the deal he truck with carrier. Palin an early endorser of trumps is going rogue in this op-ed blasting the carrier deal as crony capitalism and a hallmark of corruption and socialism. Now, trump isn't showing any signs of changing his approach to job displacement tweeting overnight about another Indiana company that's taking its jobs to Mexico, naming and shaming them. The company is called rexner, Dan. I can't remember a presidential transition this eventful. Thank you very much for your reporting this morning. Let's talk more about all of this now with ABC news political analyst Matthew dowd. Let's start, good morning, by the way. Good morning. Let's start with Taiwan. Many foreign policy experts are aghast that the president-elect did this. Some people, however, are applauding him. So in your view is trump crazy or crazy like a fox. Probably a little bit of both would be the definition of this. I was thinking about what sort of typifies this and I thought of the movie "Rush hour." His supporters and staff are acting like he's Jackie Chan, knows exactly what he's doing and all this. Everybody else thinks he's Chris tucker, stumbling through this app maybe finds success in the middle. I think it's problematic. I hope our viewers have. There's three of them. You better have saw one. To me it's problematic for two reasons. If he did it unintentionally it's a rookie mistake but, two, if he did this intentionally but he did it without a far east policy in place to explain and a staff that could explain to the public why you are doing this, what's the outcome of this and what's the real strategy of this, my guess is this was Donald Trump doing something visceral. He took a call from a leader and now is trying to figure out how in the aftermath of that to explain it. Some of the other phone calls he's had with foreign leaders have raised eyebrows. Just a couple examples. Praised the president of Kazakhstan even though that president is really a dictator. He invited the president of the Philippines to Washington even though there's been a lot of howling about massive human rights abuses in Philippines in the last year or so. So, what do you think overall is going on here and could it be good he's shaking things up. I think, one, his supporters think it's really good getting in a fight with China is a good thing for most of his supporters in this. I think it does demonstrate he probably needs to get a secretary of state nominee on the board pretty quickly. One thing we learned in the campaign and that we're now learning as president he didn't play by the rules in the campaign, he won't play by the rules of diplomacy and international relations. He's just not going to do it. Before we run here Sarah Palin, did she just cost herself a cabinet post. My guess is that was already decided before and then she released the statement but she's right actually. This is a case of rewarding a specific company so in this case from conservative Republican policy she's right. It's anathema to them that Donald Trump did this. Matt dowd, thank you. Appreciate it. And people from "Hush hour" thank you, as well. A quick programming note, George Stephanopoulos is going to go one-on-one with the vice president-elect Mike pence tomorrow on "This week" right here on ABC. Thanks again, Matt.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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