President Donald Trump on Sunday evening suggested that reporting from various news outlets was incorrect, although his statements also contradicted words that members of his own cabinet have said just a few days ago.
Trump said in a tweet on Sunday night that media reports stating he’d be willing to meet Iran with no conditions attached had been incorrect, using his often touted “fake news” label against such reporting.
“The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.’ That is an incorrect statement (as usual!),” Trump wrote.
The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
But per reporting from Mediate, there is documented evidence that members of Trump’s cabinet, speaking on his behalf, have said such a meeting could feasibly take place.
“As of now, there is no plan for the president to meet with him [Iranian President Hassan Rouhani], although the president has said that he is prepared to meet with no conditions,” Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday, September 12.
Trump’s head of the State Department, Secretary Mike Pompeo, said something similar before Mnuchin’s comments.
Trump “is prepared to meet [Iranian leaders] with no preconditions,” Pompeo asserted on Tuesday, September 10.
Even Trump himself has stated in the past that he’d be willing to meet with Iran without that nation necessarily having to move in one diplomatic direction or another. “I’m ready to meet anytime they want to…no preconditions, if they want to meet, I’ll meet,” Trump said last year.
Trump’s tweet on Sunday evening doesn’t make clear whether he changed his mind on the matter or not, but it does demonstrate that there’s an inconsistent message emanating from the White House that could send mixed signals to the Iranian government. The question of whether Trump is willing to speak with that nation’s leaders or not is up in the air.
That being said, it’s not unlike the president to change his mind on this policy matter — as the Washington Post has demonstrated, he’s done so on many occasions.