President Donald Trump reported that he called off overnight military strikes against Iran, claiming in a series of Friday morning tweets that the decision came after he, at the last-minute, questioned how many casualties were expected in the planned attack.
“150 people, sir, was the answer from a General,” Trump wrote. “10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
His claim that the US had been “cocked and loaded” to launch confirmed stunning media reports that planes had already been in place to strike when the president issued his order to back down. Trump did not explain why he had been unaware of the estimated number of fatalities—a key factor in any military operation—so late into the operation’s planning.
In his tweets Friday, Trump appeared to almost revel in recounting the gripping details leading up to his sudden reversal.
….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
While the tweets appeared to signal a deescalation in tensions, Trump also claimed that additional sanctions were added overnight—a move that, if true, is likely to further antagonize Tehran. The Treasury Department has yet to make such an announcement.