President Trump said the U.S. military was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran on three different sites Thursday night, but called off the operation after learning 150 people would likely die from the strike. Mr. Trump, explaining his decision on Twitter, said the response would have been “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
As CBS News has reported, the president ordered the drone strike Thursday night,, avoiding — for now — a significant escalation of tensions between Iran and the U.S.
“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters,” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday morning, referencing Iran. “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [SIC] 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!”
It’s unclear what sanctions the president was referring to, as the Treasury Department announced no new sanctions on Thursday.
Mr. Trump met with top congressional leaders at the White House Friday to decide how to respond to Iran shooting down the unmanned drone, an act the president said could be due to someone “loose and stupid” and an unintentional mistake. After that meeting, top Democrats agreed the situation with Iran is serious. But a source in the roomwere posed at the time.
On Friday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to have his regular intelligence briefing behind closed doors at 11:30 a.m., meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and host members of Congress for a picnic on the White House South Lawn.