Donald Trump on Wednesday delivered an address from the White House in which he tried to blame former President Barack Obama for the attacks Iran carried out against U.S. troops Tuesday night.
In the speech, Trump claimed that Iran paid for the missiles it used to strike Iraqi bases housing American troops with money it had received from the nuclear deal struck under the Obama administration.
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said, repeating a false statement he has used previously about Obama giving Iran billions of dollars.
Despite his claims, that exchange, as Trump characterizes it, never actually took place.
As part of the nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran regained access to money that it was blocked from accessing previously.
“There was no $150 billion gift from the U.S. treasury or other countries. Iran was allowed to get its money back,” the Associated Press wrote in August.
Tommy Vietor, a national security aide under Obama, said Trump’s statement this week blaming Obama was “absurd.”
“Trump cannot substantiate his absurd claim that the JCPOA paid for Iran’s missiles. Don’t quote his lying propaganda without factchecking it or you’re part of the problem,” Vietor tweeted following Trump’s remarks on Wednesday.
Trump’s address ultimately gave no more clarity on how the United States will resolve tensions with Iran, which the Trump administration itself exacerbated after withdrawing from the JCPOA in May 2018, against the wishes of other world leaders. Tensions were ramped up further last week after Trump ordered the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, without first informing Congress. Trump and his officials have since justified that strike by claiming Iran was planning an imminent attack on the United States, though they have offered not evidence to back that claim.
Instead, Trump, flanked by military leaders, spoke broadly on Wednesday about the United States’ military might, as well as the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which was unrelated to the current situation with Iran.
“Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast,” Trump said, later saying that he did not want to have to use the military’s equipment.