President Trump on Tuesday described a deadly explosion in Beirut as a “terrible attack” before authorities had publicly attributed any cause to the calamity. The president made the remark during his latest White House press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked by a reporter how he came to that conclusion, he said: “It would seem like it based on the explosion. … I met with some of our great generals and they seemed to feel that it was [an attack].” “This seems to be, according to them, they seemed to think it was an attack, that it was a bomb of some kind,” he said. The commander-in-chief offered “America’s deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon.”
Witnesses described an apocalyptic scene in the Middle Eastern city in the wake of the blast, which killed at least 70 people and injured more than 3,700. Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical predominantly used as an agricultural fertilizer, had exploded in a warehouse. Diab said the chemical storage had been left unsecured and unsupervised for six years.