President Trump on Friday morning confirmed media reports that he had ordered military strikes against Iran in response to recent provocations by the Middle Eastern country. He also confirmed that he called the strikes off shortly before they were to have taken place, citing potential casualties.
But his explanation raises all kinds of questions — including why he would ask about potential casualties so late in the process.
Below is the re-formatted text of Trump’s tweets about Iran, with annotations in yellow. To see an annotation, click on the highlighted text.
President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran - Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled ... Death to America.
I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!
We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not ... proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.
I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!
Update: Trump expanded upon his explanation in an interview with NBC News.
CHUCK TODD: So you never gave a final order?
TRUMP: No, no, no, no. But we had something ready to go, subject to my approval. And they came in -- and they came in about a half an hour before, they said, “So we’re about ready to go.” I said, “I want a better definition --”
CHUCK TODD: Were planes in the air?
TRUMP: No, no. “We’re about ready to go.” No, but they would have been pretty soon. And things would have happened to a point where you wouldn’t turn back or couldn’t turn back. So they came and they said, “Sir, we’re ready to go. We’d like a decision.” I said, “I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed,' in this case Iranians. I said, “How many people are going to be killed?” “Sir, I’d like get back to you on that.” Great people, these generals. They said, came back, they said, “Sir, approximately 150.” And I thought about it for a second and I said, “You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said ‘go ahead.’” And I didn’t like it. I didn’t think -- I didn’t think it was proportionate.