On Thursday, June 20th – hours after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone – Prime Minister of Canada Trudeau visited the Oval Office.
Mr. Trump opened up the session with reporters by boasting about booming markets, noting that “the market has reached an all-time high.” He also noted that the talks between the two leaders would focus mainly on trade. However, the focus of the session soon shifted to Iran.
Earlier Thursday morning, in the midst of rising tensions between Iran and the U.S., Iran shot down a U.S. drone. Iran maintains that it shot down the drone because it was in Iranian airspace, while the U.S. argues that the drone was flying over international waters. According to the United States Central Command, the drone “was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.”
In response, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Iran made a very big mistake!”
Mr. Trump first reiterated his tweet during the session, telling reporters that, “Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly,” and said the U.S. was sure of this because “we have it all documented scientifically.” The president also noted, though, that he thought that someone “loose and stupid” had shot down the drone and that, “I imagine someone made a mistake…” in shooting down the drone, seemingly questioning how intentional the provocation really was.
When asked how he will respond, the president simply said: “You’ll find out.”
Mr. Trudeau said that he is “very concerned about the escalation by Iran recently because we have a significant presence in the area, including a NATO mission in Baghdad and Iraq.” He also told reporters that he looks forward to working with “our closest ally” and with the international community to find a way forward.
When asked if he was being pushed to war by his advisers, President Trump responded: “No no not at all. In fact, in many cases, it’s the opposite.” He continued by reaffirming his desire to remove the U.S. military from “these endless wars,” noting that, “I campaigned on that, I want to get out… As you know we’ve reduced very substantially in Afghanistan. We beat the Caliphate. We took back the 100 percent of the Caliphate. At 99 percent, Justin, I said we’re going to get out we’re going to start peeling back and everybody went crazy because it was 99, and so I said all right, so we’ll finish it up. So we got 100 percent.”
However, the president has also recently announced the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops to the Middle East in response to the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The president concluded the session by saying, “This is a new wrinkle, a new fly in the ointment what happened, shooting down a drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”