Trump Pushed for Iran Strikes in Frenzied Bid to Cling to Power, Report Says

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) chats with former US President Donald Trump after he delivered the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, last year.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) chats with former US President Donald Trump after he delivered the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, last year.Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY - AFP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

Senior U.S. military officials feared that Donald Trump's fight to reverse Joe Biden's 2020 election victory would result in a war against Iran during the twilight of his administration, The New Yorker reported on Thursday.

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Miley, had "engaged in an alarmed effort to ensure that Trump did not embark on a military conflict with Iran as part of his quixotic campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in power," journalist Susan B. Glasser reported.

Among the people urging Trump to take military action against Iran was then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the article stated. 

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"Trump had a circle of Iran hawks around him and was close with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also urging the Administration to act against Iran after it was clear that Trump had lost the election," Glasser wrote.

The report claimed that in the months after the election, "with Trump seemingly willing to do anything to stay in power, the subject of Iran was repeatedly raised in White House meetings with the President, and Milley repeatedly argued against a strike."

In the weeks after Biden was elected, Trump "kept pushing for a missile strike in response to various provocations against U.S. interests in the region," Glasser reports. Milley replied: “If you do this, you’re gonna have a fucking war."

Eventually, Milley got his way, after a White House meeting in early January in which Trump's National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both told the president they were against a military strike.

While Trump continued to deny the fact that he had lost the election, a "nightmare scenario" that haunted the senior U.S. military command had been averted.

Last month, the New York Times reported that an Iranian factory, which was targeted in a drone attack at the end of June, was on the list of targets that the Israeli government gave to the United States last year.

According to the Times report, in early 2020, Israel gave a list to then-U.S. President Donald Trump and senior government officials – including Mike Pompeo and CIA director Gina Haspel – identifying potential targets within Iran in order to halt the country's nuclear program. An intelligence official said that the Trump administration had signed off on the campaign against Iran's nuclear sites. 

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