The United States is sending one of its aircraft carriers to the Middle East, in an apparent move to show its military strength amid tensions with Iran.
National security adviser John Bolton said the transportation of the carrier was important to demonstrate that any attacks from Iran would be met with a swift response.
“The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said in a statement, according to reporting from the BBC.
But is the move more than that? Some on social media pointed out that President Donald Trump once suggested that his predecessor would use the threat of hostilities with Iran — even going to war with that nation — in order to win re-election.
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
It’s not clear at this point that the Trump administration’s moves against Iran over the weekend are anything more than what Bolton has said they are, or have anything to do with his re-election campaign.
However, Trump certainly could use the boost for his own re-election campaign, as polling numbers demonstrate he’s not doing so great on that front.
A recent poll from Quinnipiac shows that a majority of voters, 53 percent, say they definitely won’t vote for Trump to win the presidency for a second term. Only 30 percent said they definitely will vote for Trump.
Concerns that Trump could use tensions with Iran were raised late last year as well.
.@BeschlossDC: the President can start a war almost single handily, and Donald Trump will be tempted, because if you are looking at the tweets in 2011 and 2012, he is keep on saying that Barack Obama will start a war against Iran or someone else in order to get elect.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) October 10, 2018
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss told MSNBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell that Donald Trump could be “tempted” to start a war in order to help himself politically, basing his assumptions on tweets the president has made in the past, like the one cited above, that shows he thought Obama would do the same thing.