President Donald Trump announced that he had not given final approval to launch military strikes against Iran and denied that any planes were in the air, according to an interview with NBC News Friday.
Iran shot down a U.S. Navy drone on Thursday following an alleged attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month. The actions led to the Trump administration calling for a military strike against Iran before retracting the decision Friday morning.
Trump denied giving final approval for the proposed military attack Friday in an NBC News interview that will air Sunday. He also said that while planes were not in the air, there was the possibility of them taking off. Trump said that a plan for a military attack was ready but waiting his final approval, which he did not give. (RELATED: Trump Made Journos’ Heads Explode With His Reaction To The Iran-Drone Controversy)
“Nothing was green lighted until the very end because things change,” Trump told NBC News during a “Meet the Press” interview Friday.
Trump tweeted that he was ready to launch an air strike on Iran, but stopped it “10 minutes before” stating that he was “in no hurry” because America has the best military in the world.
….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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Trump asked his generals how many people, specifically “Iranians,” would be killed in the attack. When the generals responded that approximately 150 people would die, Trump stopped it because it was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he tweeted Friday.
“I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead,” Trump said, according to NBC News. “And I didn’t like it, I didn’t think, I didn’t think it was proportionate.”
Previous reports stated that Trump had killed the military attack while the planes were already in the air, which Trump denies in the interview. The full interview will be available Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
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