Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning where he claimed to have instructed the U.S. Navy to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian vessels that “harass” American warships in the Persian Gulf.
Trump tweeted saying:
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump wrote.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
Trump’s tweet came a week after the U.S. Navy accused Iranian gunboats of making “dangerous and harassing approaches” to American warships in the Persian Gulf.
Critics quickly noted Trump’s tactic to attempt to distract people from his poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If the xenophobia isn’t doing the trick and providing a good enough distraction, there’s always the classic authoritarian move: gin up a war,” said Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) April 22, 2020
“The mother of all distractions,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said of Trump’s tweet.
The mother of all distractions. https://t.co/w3ECgtDAQm
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) April 22, 2020
Trump’s tweet came shortly after watching a “lengthy discussion of Iran launching a new military satellite” on Fox News.
Fox & Friends, which Trump watched this morning, had a lengthy discussion of Iran launching a new military satellite about 90 minutes before Trump posted his tweet threatening to shoot down their [squints at notes] boats pic.twitter.com/bvpiPe0xAr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 22, 2020