A Donald Trump spokesman said Tuesday that he made a “mistake” in announcing that former Kansas senator Bob Dole would join the transition team as a senior adviser, and that Dole would actually be granted no official position.
“Senator Dole continues to be a huge supporter and has been extremely helpful in the transition process, but due to some time commitments that he has, he’s not able to take on an official role with the transition executive committee,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on the daily transition call, a day after he welcomed Dole aboard.
Dole’s work as a lobbyist for Washington, D.C. law firm Alston & Bird and a foreign agent for Taiwan would have put him in violation of the rules set forth for official members of the transition team. All members are required to sign a pledge that they are not lobbyists or working on behalf of foreign governments.
The former Kansas senator engaged in a lengthy lobbying effort to help Taiwanese officials gain access to Trump and his team, which culminated in a controversial December phone call between the President-elect and Taiwan’s president. That phone conversation, which marked the first call between leaders of the two countries since 1979, prompted China to issue a warning to Trump to recognize the “One China” policy.
Spicer noted on the Tuesday call with reporters that Dole would retain an “unofficial” advisory role with the transition, but would not be an “official part” of it.
“That was my fault for getting ahead of what we thought was his addition to the team,” he said.
It was unclear why Dole would be added to the transition team roster at this date, given that Trump’s inauguration is scheduled for Friday Jan. 20.