Trump on Planned Retaliatory Strikes on Iran: ’10 Minutes Before the Strike I Stopped It’

By Melanie Arter | June 21, 2019 | 10:09am EDT
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( – President Donald Trump admitted Friday to calling for air strikes against Iran in retaliation for shooting down a U.S. unmanned drone in international waters, but called the strike off 10 minutes beforehand.

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump said, “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!” the president tweeted.

Trump said the U.S. military was “cocked & loaded,” ready to attack “3 different sights” when he called it after at the last minute after asking how many people would die.

“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. 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,” he tweeted.

“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!” the president added.

During Thursday’s White House visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was asked how he would respond to the drone strike, to which he responded, “You’ll find out.”

“Does that mean you're planning to do something?” a reporter asked.

“You'll find out. You'll find out. I mean, obviously … you know, we're not going to be talking too much about it. You're going to find out. They made a very big mistake.”

Trump said that “fortunately” the drone was unmanned. If the drone had been manned, it would have been a different story, he said, and he suggested the downing of the drone may have been a mistake by someone under the command of Iran’s military.

“There was no man in it, and … it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone. It would have made a big difference, let me tell you. It would have made a big, big difference, but I have a feeling -- I may be wrong and I may right, but I’m right a lot,” the president told reporters.

“I have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn’t have been doing what they did. I think they made a mistake, and I’m not just talking the country made a mistake. I think that somebody under the command of that country made a big mistake,” he said.

When asked if he was saying the drone strike wasn’t intentional, Trump said, “I don’t know. I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it, but we’ll be able to report back, and you’ll understand exactly what happened, but it was a very foolish move, that I can tell you.”

When asked whether he was still open to dialogue with the Iranian leadership, Trump said, “Let’s just see what happens. You just -- let’s see what happens. It’s all going to work out.”

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