Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) was called out by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday for defending President Obama breaking diplomatic protocol by talking to Iran after Coons criticized President-elect Donald Trump for talking to the president of Taiwan.
After Coons spent much of the interview criticizing Trump's conversation Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, saying it could create problems with China and lead to more confrontation, Blitzer compared the situation to Obama's discussions with the Iranian government.
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"They [Trump supporters] make the point, the president of the United States, President Obama, he broke, what, 40 years of diplomatic protocol, picked up the phone and called President Rouhani of Iran–Iran according to the State Department, the leading state sponsor of terror," Blitzer said. "He broke 50 or 60 or 70 years of diplomatic protocol and established diplomatic relations with Cuba, even though Castro, Raúl Castro is still in charge."
Coons agreed with Blitzer that each administration gets to determine its own foreign policy and bold moves have consequences in foreign policy, but he called Trump's conversation "puzzling."
Blitzer again addressed the point that those who are criticizing Trump for his phone call did not do the same with Obama's diplomatic outreach.
"The point they make is the president, President Obama, he broke diplomatic protocol in speaking with tyrants, if you will," Blitzer said. "In this particular case, Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol in speaking with a democratically elected president."
"That's right," Coons said.
Since the 1970s, the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan due to the objection of the communist government in China. The Chinese government was upset with the call between Trump and Taiwan's president.