During an interview with NBC, President Donald Trump offered an inside look at the tense moments that lead up to his decision to call off a military strike on Iran.
After Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone on Wednesday, the president asked his generals Thursday night how many would be killed in the retaliatory strike.
“I said, ‘how many people will be killed,’” Trump told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “They came back and they said, ‘sir, approximately 150.’”
“I thought about it for a second and said, You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone…and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within half an hour after I said go ahead,” he said.
“I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was proportionate,” Trump added.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Trump gave the interview just hours after he tweeted about the decision, in which he said the U.S. was “cocked & loaded” and ready to retaliate.
Before the NBC interview and Trump’s tweets, there were few known details about the canceled mission.
A source told Fox News earlier on Friday that a last-minute decision was made to cancel a retaliatory strike.
Trump’s decision to cancel the strike has been met with a mixed reaction in Washington, with some Republicans expressing disappointment.
“To shoot down a $200 million plane the size of an airliner that could have easily had 35 people on it, there needs to be a response. Am I disappointed today? Yes,” Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger told Fox News.
“Ultimately it will be ‘is there a reaction?’ And if there is I think that’s fine. But if there’s not a reaction and we think we can negotiate then I think it will be a bad move.”
Tensions have been escalating between the U.S. and Iran. Iran recently announced it will soon exceed internationally agreed limits on its nuclear program, CNBC reported.
The U.S. also accused Iran of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.
A senior official from the Trump administration told Fox News on Friday there was “complete unanimity amongst the president’s advisors and DOD leadership on an appropriate response to Iran’s activities.”
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