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Donald Trump plays down Iran attack on US drone as a 'big mistake' by someone 'stupid'  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump Thursday played down the shooting down of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iran, saying it appeared to have been a "big mistake" by someone "loose and stupid."

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional," Trump told reporters during an Oval Office  meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "I think it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it."

Trump also said that Americans would know "soon" how he plans to respond.

Iran said it shot down the drone because it entered the nation's airspace, but Trump said it was over international waters.

The incident early Thursday heightened already strained tensions between the U.S. and Iran and prompted top Pentagon officials to formulate military response options.

The two countries have escalated their rhetoric since two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week. The United States blames Iran for the attacks, but Tehran denies responsibility. But in an interview with TIME magazine, Trump described the two attacks as “very minor.”

Iran said it shot down the drone over the southern coast of its Hormozgan Province and said the incident sent a “clear message” that the Persian Gulf nation was ready to defend itself from what it views as Western aggression.

The White House invited congressional leaders to a briefing at 3 p.m. EDT that the president is expected to attend. Invited are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence and Armed Services committees also were invited, according the White House schedule.

The Pentagon, however, said the incident played out in international waters over the Strait of Hormuz.

"Iran made a big mistake,” Trump said from the White House. “This drone was in international waters, clearly. We have it all documented scientifically.”

Trump declined to say how he intended to respond, telling reporters: “You’ll find out soon.”

But, “this country will not stand for it,” he warned.

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