Trump reverses his earlier claim that he stopped Iran action on the brink of the attack
On Thursday evening, multiple sources reported that planes were already in the air and ships were moving to attack positions when Donald Trump gave everyone the order to turn back. On Friday morning, Trump tweeted that the reason he did this 180-degree position switch was because he finally got around to asking about consequences and causalities of his action after ordering the military to make an attack on Iranian targets. Those morning tweets from Trump indicated that the U.S. was “cocked and loaded” (don’t think about that too hard) and that it was only “10 minutes before the strike” when Trump gave the no-go signal.
So naturally Trump is telling a completely different story on Friday afternoon. As NBC News reports, Trump now says that “no planes were in the air” and that he had not given final approval for the strike.
The second half of that statement may well be true. It’s certainly not unusual for a military operation to proceed right up to the point of being prepared to fire missiles or bordering on crossing into another nation’s territory while waiting on the final “go.” But the first part of the statement is almost certainly wrong, because well in advance of the operation, planes would be in the air. That’s true both because some would be coming from distant bases hours away from the theater of conflict, and also because support aircraft, from surveillance drones to fueling tankers, would be scrambled to support operations.
It’s not clear that Trump’s statement about planes not being in the air in advance of the attack is a lie, or plain ignorance. What is clear is that Trump’s earlier claim to have stopped the mission just ten minutes away from hitting Iranian targets was an out-and-out fabrication designed to add some fake drama to the situation. Trump cancelled the operation on Thursday evening before 7PM D.C. time, which was still several hours before the scheduled operation in Iran.
Trump’s claim that he got a last minute estimate of potential casualties is also a clear lie, both because Trump has dressed the tale up with all the knee-scrapping honorifics he usually adds when relating such stories, and because the Pentagon would have certainly made the results of such a strike clear before it was authorized. But there is another reason he might have changed his mind—Nancy Pelosi told him no.