U.S. President Donald Trump has delivered another one of his cryptic replies after being asked how America plans to respond after Iran shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone flying over international waters near the Strait of Hormuz.
A few hours after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps attack on the drone, IRGC Maj.Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency as saying the incident was an “open, clear and categorical message, which is, the defenders of the borders of Iran will decisively deal with any foreign aggression. This is the way the Iranian nation deals with its enemies… [Iran] does not want war with any country, but we are completely and totally ready and prepared for war,” he said.
Speaking to reporters Thursday prior to meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, Trump said in his remarks that the drone was unarmed. He seemed to underplay the importance of the incident and left Tehran with an opening to climb down from its tree, saying the drone could have been shot down by someone “loose and stupid,” adding that he thought “probably Iran made a mistake – I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.”
But he also made clear in a tweet that the move was a “very big mistake!” When asked by reporters how the U.S. will respond to that mistake Trump simply said, “You’ll find out.”
Trump made a similar noncommittal response in 2017 after Syria’s government forces repeatedly used chemical weapons in attacks on its civilian population despite clear warnings from the United States against it.
In April 2017, Trump called the situation in Syria “a disgrace to humanity.” The only other comment that preceded a barrage of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at the air base from which the Syrian aircraft took off to drop deadly sarin gas on Idlib province, was Trump telling reporters, “[Assad]’s there and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen.”
The chemical weapons attack by Assad forces murdered more than 70 civilians and wounded at least 546 others, including dozens of babies and small children. The American missiles were launched from two U.S. Naval destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea.