Speaking in the Oval Office during an executive order signing ceremony on Tuesday, President Donald Trump, fielding questions from reporters, gave an answer that was shocking and puzzling to many on social media who heard about it later.
Trump was asked by a reporter what, if any, exit strategy he may have if he decides to attack Iran in response to any action that may warrant it from the U.S. military. Trump responded that he wasn’t thinking about any exit strategy because he didn’t believe he needed one.
Reporter: "Do you have an exit strategy for Iran if war does break out?"
— CNN (@CNN) June 25, 2019
“You’re not going to need an exit strategy,” Trump answered, with at least one person laughing in response. “I don’t need exit strategies.”
Users on the social media site Twitter, upon hearing Trump’s answer to the question, expressed bewilderment and outrage.
Some disbelieved that Trump understood what the term meant in the first place:
It's not that Trump thinks he doesn't need an exit strategy for an invasion of Iran. It's that he doesn't know what a military exit strategy is, or that virtually every modern military operation has one.
— Heather Hughson (@HNHughson) June 25, 2019
That question is over his head….has no clue what an 'exit strategy' is!! https://t.co/p0trQjVG1X
— 👍 S. Christy 😃 (@SChristy16) June 25, 2019
Others, meanwhile, pointed out how irresponsible and absurd it would be to start a war with a foreign nation without a plan for lasting success:
So it would be an endless war? https://t.co/TX81VDR1EN
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) June 25, 2019
Um, yes you do need an exit strategy, or it is a Forever War.
— VoteVets (@votevets) June 25, 2019
Still others tried to make light of the situation, pointing out that Trump may not have had an exit strategy in mind for other “events” in his life:
#DerangedDonald didn't have an exit strategy for Stormy Daniels. She spanked him for $130k.
— Michael McCullough (@mightymac1963) June 25, 2019
If Trump’s record with predicting the outcome of recent wars demonstrates anything, it may showcase that he is pretty short-sighted on the issue.
In 2003, when support for the Iraq War was high among most U.S. citizens, Trump expressed support for it as well, and reveled in the success after the first day of military action. Before that happened, however, he voiced support for invasion of that country in 2002 when asked by radio host Howard Stern, according to reporting from HuffPost.
Even though Trump said he was one of the “earliest critics” of the invasion of Iraq, he wasn’t — he didn’t express dissatisfaction with it until after the public soured on the U.S. presence there in later years.
Earlier this week, Trump demonstrated another inconsistency, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com.
Although he had previously said that any attack against Iran ought to be “proportionate” to whatever harm had been done to the U.S. — which was his justification for not retaliating when an American drone was brought down by Tehran last week, as 150 people could have died in a retaliatory strike he had decided to call off — Trump on Tuesday suggested that an attack against “anything American” could result in “obliteration” for parts of the country.