Trump Suggests Iran's Shooting Down of Drone Was an Accident




 

President Donald Trump declared Thursday that "Iran made a very big mistake" in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error. Asked about a U.S. response, he said repeatedly, "You'll find out."

A few minutes earlier, a senior U.S. military officer said Iran shot down the huge, unmanned American aircraft over international waters in an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf area where Trump has blamed Iran for attacking shipping vessels.

But Trump said he could not imagine the missile attack on the drone was intentional and he had a feeling "a general or somebody" mistakenly ordered the attack.

Some members of Congress expressed alarm at the possibility of open conflict in the Middle East, especially after Trump's morning tweet that said only, "Iran made a very big mistake." But when asked about it later, he merely described the incident as a "new wrinkle" in escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran - a "fly in the ointment."

Still he said the U.S. "will not stand for it."

Shortly before Trump spoke, at a photo opportunity with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Central Command air forces in the region, took a different tack from Trump's idea of an accidental shootdown.

"This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce," he said.

Iran said earlier that it shot down the drone after it violated its territorial airspace. Guastella disputed that contention, telling reporters that the unmanned aircraft was 34 kilometers from the nearest Iranian territory and flying at high altitude when struck by a surface-to-air missile.

The downing of the drone follows of weeks of escalating tensions in the Middle East, starting with the U.S. announcement last month that it was rushing an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the Persian Gulf area in response to Iranian threats.

The Trump administration has been putting increasing economic pressure for more than a year. It reinstated punishing sanctions following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of an international agreement intended to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from earlier sanctions.

Trump has said repeatedly that the U.S. does not want war in the Mideast, yet members of Congress reacted quickly with that possibility as background.

The Senate's top Democrat called the downing of the American drone "deeply concerning" and accused the administration of not having an Iran strategy and keeping Congress and the American people in the dark.

"The president needs to explain to the American people why he's driving us toward another endless conflict in the Middle East," said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn't think Trump wants war with Iran and the American people have "no appetite" for it either.

She said the U.S. needs to be "strong and strategic" about protecting its interests and "cannot be reckless."

More must-read stories from Fortune:

-2020 Democratic primary debates: Everything you need to know

-The campaign finance power behind Trump impeachment efforts

-Not every state is restricting abortion rights-some are expanding them

-Richard Nixon's "Western White House" is back on the market-at a discount

-Trump administration to use former Japanese internment camp to house migrant children

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump accidentally refers to Defense Secretary Esper as
Trump accidentally refers to Defense Secretary Esper as 'Mark Esperanto' in tweet defending Syria withdrawal

President Trump quoted "Mark Esperanto, Secretary of Defense" on Sunday. But the man in charge of the Pentagon is named Mark Esper, not Esperanto.

Trump drops plan to host G-7 at Doral
Trump drops plan to host G-7 at Doral

President Donald Trump on Saturday abruptly reversed his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world leaders' meeting at his Doral, Florida, golf resort next year. Accused of using the presidency to enrich himself by hosting the international summit at a private resort owned by his family, Trump announced a rare backtrack Saturday night. "Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020," Trump tweeted.

'We're going to have him for another four years.' Impeachment fight riles up Donald Trump supporters for 2020

Rather than hunkering down in Washington, Donald Trump is using the impeachment fight to rile up supporters in cities like Minneapolis and Dallas.

'Final straw': GOP ex-Ohio Gov. Kasich supports impeachment

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against President Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, said Friday that he supports impeaching the president - but isn't ready to call for his removal from office. Kasich said he decided to back impeachment after hearing acting White House chief of staff

Trump says Kurds are
Trump says Kurds are 'very happy' with U.S.-brokered deal and U.S. has 'taken control' of oil

Fighting is continuing near the Syria-Turkey border despite a Trump administration boast it had helped broker a 'cease-fire,' Kurdish authorities say.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.