President Trump said he doesn’t want war with anyone, even as tensions are running high in the Middle East after a drone strike over the weekend on Saudi oil-processing facilities. The president added that the U.S. is nonetheless more prepared for war than any nation. He also hesitated to place any blame until a full review has taken place.
Speaking in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon during a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain, the president said he isn’t looking at response options right now and wants to first determine “definitively” who is responsible. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is blaming Iran for the attacks. The president said later Monday that he and Pompeo are on the same page. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility, and Tehran has denied Iran is to blame.
“Certainly it would look to most like it was Iran,” Mr. Trump told reporters Monday, and he said that “we pretty much already know,” though he did not say definitively that the U.S. believes Iran is responsible.
Pompeo and other top U.S. officials will be visiting Saudi Arabia soon, Mr. Trump said. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Mr. Trump was briefed Monday at the White House on the attack on the Saudi oil facilities. Esper also tweeted that the U.S. military and interagency team are working to address the “unprecedented attack and defend the international rules-based order that is being undermined by Iran.”
Mr. Trump said the Saudis would have a lot to do with any response the U.S takes.
“Look they’re very upset, they’re very angry,” the president said of the Saudis, adding he didn’t think reporters would be surprised to find out who’s behind the attacks.
President Trump on Sunday had said the U.S. was “locked and loaded depending on verification,” but added that he was also waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia about who it thought was responsible.
The drone attacks, and Mr. Trump announced late Sunday he has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed. “PLENTY OF OIL!” the president tweeted in all-caps Sunday.
This is a developing story and will be updated.