Threatening New War for Oil, Donald Trump Calls His Own Offer of Iran Talks “Fake News”

As he threatened to bomb Iran at Saudi Arabia’s behest, Trump also intensified his battle with objective reality, by denying his own prior comments.

FILE - This Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, satellite image from Planet Labs Inc., shows thick black smoke rising from Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia.The weekend drone attack on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco’s stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. (Planet Labs Inc via AP, File)
A satellite image of smoke rising from Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Planet Labs Inc, via Associated Press.

As he threatened to bomb Iran at Saudi Arabia’s behest, President Donald Trump also intensified his battle with objective reality on Sunday, by railing against what he called “The Fake News” media for “saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.'”

Since there is video of Trump saying exactly that in June, and at a news conference last year, there are only two possible explanations here: The president is either suffering an alarming memory loss or flat-out lying.

If the president has simply forgotten his own Iran policy, he could consult the two men overseeing it, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who both confirmed last week that Trump was open to such talks.

“The president has made clear, he’s happy to take a meeting with no preconditions,” Mnuchin told reporters in the White House briefing room on Monday. “The president’s made it very clear: he is prepared to meet with no preconditions,” Pompeo added 20 seconds later.

Trump’s rage at the news media for accurately reporting his prior comments came just minutes after he informed Americans that he had put the United States military at the disposal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities the administration has blamed on Iran. American forces are “locked and loaded,” Trump tweeted, and “waiting to hear from the Kingdom” to say when and where they would like the bombs to be dropped.

The president’s statement that he was standing by for instructions from the Saudi royals, “as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed,” prompted furious responses from Democrats like Rep. Ruben Gallego and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who promised that Congress would withhold authorization for any new war for oil in the Middle East.

On Monday morning, however, another Democratic senator, Chris Coons of Delaware, appeared on Trump’s favorite morning news show, “Fox and Friends,” and suggested that, if there is evidence that Iran was responsible for spilling Saudi oil, “military action against Iran,” could be justified.

Updated: Monday, Sept. 16, 1:50 p.m. EDT
This article was updated to add comments from Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, who told Fox News on Monday that he could support the bombing of Iran to avenge the spilling of Saudi oil.

Join The Conversation