Fox News anchor Chris Wallace questioned President Trump’s resolve on Friday morning, wondering aloud if the president has “the stomach” to get involved in a confrontation with Iran after Trump acknowledged he abruptly called off a military strike.
After The New York Times reported on Thursday night that the president made a last-minute change to scuttle air strikes against Iran in response to Iran shooting down an unmanned American drone, Trump confirmed the reports via a series of tweets on Friday morning.
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” the president wrote. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
Appearing on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Wallace said that Trump’s claim that he called off the strikes in order to avert civilian casualties “raises as many questions as it answers.”
Noting that there was a National Security Council meeting on Thursday in which the collateral damage of any potential action was discussed, Wallace questioned the accuracy of Trump asking about casualty count 10 minutes before the strike. He went on to say Trump is obviously conflicted between talking “very tough” and not wanting to get involved in “endless wars.”
“And a war with Iran would be a very ugly and prolonged conflict,” the Fox News Sunday anchor added. “So it does raise the question, does the president have the stomach to launch this kind of attack and get more deeply involved, perhaps, in a confrontation with Iran?”
Anchor Sandra Smith brought up Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) saying we need to “inflict severe pain” on Iran, asking Wallace how he thought America would respond or proceed next.
Wallace, meanwhile, said that while there is a “cost to action” there is also a “cost to inaction” if the president threatens to do something and not go forward, specifically referencing former President Obama’s “red line” threat in 2012 to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons.
“What the president is going to do now, who knows,” Wallace declared. “There is certainly a possibility that he will go ahead and order another strike when he’s assured that there will not be as many casualties on the ground but on the other hand, it sure does seem like he doesn’t have much of an appetite for a strike.”