Lindsey Graham Gets Publicly Scolded By Trump For Calling Him ‘Weak’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night fired back at close ally Sen. Lindsey Graham after the South Carolina Republican criticized the president’s past approach to Iran, arguing Tehran viewed it as a “sign of weakness.”
Trump administration officials have blamed Iran for the attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
Graham issued a statement Tuesday afternoon following a briefing from Vice President Pence on the attack, calling for decisive action and claiming Trump’s response to Tehran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone in June had been insufficient.
Trump had authorized a military strike on Iran in response to the downing of the drone but said he called it back after learning there would be 150 casualties.
“It’s clear to me that such a sophisticated attack could not have occurred without Iran’s blessing and direct involvement,” Graham said of the attack on the oil sites.
“This is literally an act of war and the goal should be to restore deterrence against Iranian aggression which has clearly been lost,” Graham continued.
Graham criticized Trump’s past response to drone incident for being insufficient.
“The measured response by President Trump regarding the shooting down of an American drone was clearly seen by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness,” Graham said, adding it was “imperative” that the U.S. take decisive action to deter further Iranian aggression.
“No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!” Trump tweeted in response.
No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand! https://t.co/EU8AvfH7j9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Trump on Monday responded to the attack by saying Iran was likely the culprit but that he was waiting on a final U.S. intelligence assessment. Trump also said he would like to avoid war with Tehran while simultaneously saying the U.S. is more prepared than any other nation for armed conflict.
His remarks suggested a softening of sorts, coming one day after the president said the U.S. was “locked and loaded” following the attack and awaiting final confirmation and direction from Saudi Arabia.