President Donald Trump, apparently responding to a Fox & Friends report, tweeted Wednesday morning that he had ordered the U.S. Navy to “destroy any and all Iranian gunboats” if they “harass” U.S. ships.
Fox & Friends ran a series of reports Wednesday morning about Iran launching its first military satellite into orbit. Those reports also referenced an April 15 incident in which 11 Iranian military vessels “repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches” to U.S. Navy ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, according to a Navy press release.
Here’s a news brief that ran at 6:14 a.m. ET:
And some discussion at 6:37 a.m. ET:
And another news brief at 7:30 a.m. ET:
Trump’s obsession with Fox has often dictated U.S. domestic and international policy. In the latest instance, he seems to have moved the country closer to the brink of war with Iran because he happened to see some Fox news briefs.
Update (4/22/20): Fox's America's Newsroom hinted at the connection between the Fox & Friends report and the president's tweet.
Update (4/23/20): It appears that Trump's tweet was a lie and that he had not actually issued an order to the Navy as he claimed. The New York Times reported, “a tweet does not constitute a military order, and a Defense Department official said the Navy had not received any formal policy directive from Mr. Trump ordering it to change its criteria for opening fire on Iranian gunboats.”