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.
You don’t ask Saudi Arabia about how to proceed. You ask Congress. You do not have the authority to attack any other country on behalf of Saudi Arabia without getting permission first from Congress. (FYI the answer will be no) https://t.co/w8BWNChLa7— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) September 15, 2019
Mr. Trump, the Constitution of the United States is perfectly clear. Only Congress—not the president—can declare war. And Congress will not give you the authority to start another disastrous war in the Middle East just because the brutal Saudi dictatorship told you to. https://t.co/3wstui4O6I— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 16, 2019
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.
"This may well be the thing that calls for military action against Iran, if that's what the intelligence supports," Democratic Senator @ChrisCoons told Fox News Monday, hinting that he could support war with Iran to defend Saudi oil. via @revrrlewis @mmfa pic.twitter.com/QcdpNPOFLS— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) September 16, 2019
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.