Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended President-elect Donald Trump's phone conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, saying the break with decades-long diplomatic tradition was a "deliberate ... specific signal."
In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity Monday night, Gingrich favorably compared Trump's Taiwan call to President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba earlier this year.
"[Trump] accepted a phone call from the freely elected head of a democracy of 23 million people and frankly, if it’s OK for President Obama to go down and hang out with the Castro dictatorship, it ought to be OK for Donald Trump to talk to a democracy," Gingrich said.
"But he’s also sending a very tough signal to Beijing," the former Speaker continued. "This ain’t the old order, we’re not gonna let you push us around. You don’t dictate to us."
Gingrich also defended Trump's agreement with Carrier that enabled the air conditioning manufacturer to keep hundreds of jobs in Indiana, calling the president-elect a pragmatist "in the classic American sense."
"Trump is the first American president to realize that we are in a worldwide economic competition, just like the 50 states are in competition," Gingrich said. "I mean, these guys who yell 'free trade!', have they ever tried doing business in Mexico? Have they tried doing business in China? What are they talking about?
"I think these guys who are sitting around these academic centers spouting off ideology are as much out of touch with reality as left-wingers who are sitting around similar centers spouting off their version of ideology."