by WorldTribune Staff, June 23, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump says media reports that he had called off a planned retaliatory strike against Iran were erroneous.
“I never called the strike against Iran ‘BACK,’ as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!” the president tweeted.
Reports on June 20 had said that Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the Islamic Republic’s downing of an American surveillance drone.
On June 21, Trump tweeted that he was “cocked and loaded” to strike several targets in Iran but deemed the loss of life would be disproportionate to the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh noted that the media used Trump’s stopping of the reported planned strike on Iran to paint the president as indecisive.
The “Drive-By Media” now says that Trump “can’t pull the trigger, doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Limbaugh said. “They’re also out there saying that this is Trump doing an Obama. The Drive-Bys are actually ripping Obama today in order to rip Trump. You know what they’re saying? ‘This is no different than Obama drawing a red line for ISIS and then not doing anything when ISIS crossed the red line.’ I mean, it’s gotten to be pretty bad when they’re willing to rip Obama in order to be able to say Trump is doing the same thing.”
Limbaugh added: “You don’t need to read the New York Times. You don’t need to read any of this. You just need to read Trump’s tweets to find out what happened.”
Limbaugh then reeled off a list of political and media “absurdity” on the Iran situation:
Rachel Maddow: The president has created a destabilizing situation for the Middle East and for the world.
Chris Cuomo: Iran could easily be argued as a situation that this president created.
Ben Rhodes: This was very predictable when Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement.
Adam Schiff: The situation we’re in now was so eminently predictable that if we backed out of the Iran nuclear deal…
Juan Williams: Blame the United States for having created this crisis by putting so much pressure on the Iranians.
So, many of the “Drive-Bys,” Limbaugh said are now saying “Trump’s a coward. Trump was bluffing! Trump doesn’t have the guts to go through with it! Trump is putting the United States in a very defensive, precarious position. Whatever happened…? Remember all those days during the Iraq war when George W. Bush was going to Iraq and we had operations in Afghanistan? Remember all the Democrats and Drive-Bys saying, ‘Bombing doesn’t work!’ ”
“You start that and you’re just gonna create more terrorists! Killing them creates more terrorists. It outrages the Arab street. Whatever happened to all of that? They want Trump to go out and create more terrorists. They want Trump to engage in bombing that, all this time, they said didn’t work. They’re the ones that are contradictory and hypocritical and have to explain themselves. Of course, it’ll never happen.”
On June 22, Trump announced that he would impose new sanctions on Iran by June 24.
“Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons! Under the terrible Obama plan, they would have been on their way to Nuclear in a short number of years, and existing verification is not acceptable. We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday. I look forward to the day that sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!” he tweeted.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Iran should not “mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness.”
Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 23, Bolton said no one has granted Iran a “hunting license in the Middle East.”
Bolton emphasized that Trump had only “stopped the strike from going forward at this time.”
Trump said he was open to quickly reaching a deal with Iran that he said would help the country rebound from a devastating economic crisis largely caused by U.S. financial restrictions.
If Teheran would renounce nuclear weapons, Trump said he would become the country’s “best friend” and would help “make Iran great again.”
In an interview with NBC’s Meet The Press which aired on June 23, Trump said that he doesn’t want war with Iran, but if it comes, “it’ll be obliteration you’ve never seen before.”
“But I’m not looking to do that,” Trump said in the interview recorded on June 22.
Trump said he’d be willing to sit down with Iranian officials to negotiate a nuclear deal.
“If you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise, you can live in a shuttered economy for a long time to come,” Trump added.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani on June 23 accused the United States of fueling tensions the region, saying the “interventionist military presence” of the U.S. is responsible for the Middle East’s problems.
Meanwhile, reports by U.S. news outlets said that the United States launched cyberattacks against Iranian military computer systems on June 20, hours after Iran downed the U.S. surveillance drone.
The Washington Post and AP, citing unnamed U.S. officials, on June 22 reported that the strikes were conducted with the approval of Trump.