Trump’s Goes Off On Insane Late Night Iran Tirade

The President was up late last night sending an incredibly over-the-top tweet directed at Iran.

Late last night, President Trump went off on an all capital letters rant on Twitter in response to statements from the President of Iran and remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo using language that mirrors much of the inflammatory rhetoric that he once directed at the leadership in North Korea:

President Trump threatened Iran late Sunday, warning of severe “consequences,” as rhetoric between the two countries’ presidents escalated dramatically.

Mr. Trump, in an all-caps message on Twitter addressed to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, wrote that the country would face “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED” if he continued to threaten the United States.

Mr. Trump’s message was apparently in response to a speech on Sunday by Mr. Rouhani, who warned the United States that any conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars.”

Mr. Rouhani had earlier threatened the possible disruption of regional oil shipments if its own exports were blocked by United States sanctions.

On Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he supported Mr. Rouhani’s suggestion, an indication that Iran’s leadership was in accord over the apparent threat. Mr. Rouhani has long been considered a more pragmatic leader who was seen as tolerable to moderates.

Mr. Trump announced in May that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and last month the United States said it would impose sanctions on all exporters of Iranian oil. American officials have since moderated the sanctions demand, which roiled oil markets.

With the withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the United States resumed tough sanctions on Iran. The country’s economy was already in trouble, with its currency, the rial, dropping sharply in value against the dollar and a record amount of capital being taken out of the country last year.

That has led to increasing complaints among the Iranian public about the state of the economy, and a harsher crackdown on dissent by wary authorities.

(…)

Mr. Trump’s warning to Iran came hours after a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was harshly critical of Iran’s leadership. Mr. Pompeo accused Iran’s leadership of widespread corruption at the expense of its citizens’ welfare.

“Governments around the world worry that confronting the Islamic Republic harms the cause of moderates, but these so-called moderates within the regime are still violent Islamic revolutionaries with an anti-America, anti-West agenda,” Mr. Pompeo said in the speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. “You only have to take their own words for it.”

Mr. Pompeo also sought to reach out to the people of Iran in his speech and messages posted online. “The United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you,” he tweeted Sunday in Persian and English.

Here’s Trump’s Tweet:

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has already responded to the President:

A top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday that President Trump’s overnight Twitter warning to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani amounts to “psychological warfare.”

Gholamhossein Gheybparvar said America wants to “destroy Iran,” but Trump “cannot do a damn thing,” Reuters reported, citing Iranian news agency ISNA.

“We will never abandon our revolutionary beliefs,” Gheybparvar added, according to the news service.  ”We will resist pressure from enemies.”

“America wants nothing less than (to) destroy Iran,” he continued. “Trump cannot do a damn thing against Iran.”

Trump’s tweet last night will sound familiar, of course, to anyone who has been paying attention to this President since he took office in January 2017. For the better part of last year, for example, the President spent considerable time on Twitter and in statements to the press attacking the leadership of North Korea and threatening “fire and fury” if the DPRK threatened the United States, including calling Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” and bragging about the size of his “nuclear button.” Within less than a year, of course, Trump was speaking in obsequiously praiseworthy rhetoric about Kim Jong Un and meeting him in Singapore in a summit that accomplished exactly nothing notwithstanding the fact that the details of what was accomplished at that meeting fell far short of the rhetoric. This has already led some people this morning on Twitter to jokingly (I assume) speculating about when we might see a summit between the President and either President Rouhani or Ayatollah Khamenei. While amusing, it seems clear that the situation vis a vis Iran is far different, and in many respects, far more serious than the situation with North Korea and that the leaders of the Islamic Republic are not going to be quite as forgiving or react to Trump’s rhetoric in quite the same way that Kim Jong Un did. Indeed, at least in the short term, this is likely to make the situation with Iran far more dangerous than it had already become in light of the President’s ill-advised decision to withdraw from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more informally known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.

As Daniel Larison notes, the comment from Iranian President Rouhani — which stated that “Americans should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace….Likewise a war would be the mother of all wars”— was not really a threat to the United States but was, instead a warning that a future conflict with Iran, which certainly seems like the road down which this Administration wants to head, would not be an easy one or one without consequence for the United States. This is a truth that has, in the past, restrained previous American Administrations and led to policies that have largely been followed by the past three Presidential Administration vis a vis Iran that eventually led to the JCPOA itself which, while imperfect, went further in addressing the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and bringing Iran into compliance with previous agreements regarding nuclear technology than we had ever been able to get previously. The President’s rhetoric, on the other hand, is utterly irresponsible:

Trump’s reaction reminds us that his Iran policy is a very dangerous and hostile one, but the most worrisome thing about this episode is that it shows how quick to escalate tensions the president is. At best, Trump’s response to Rouhani’s comments shows how ready he is to threaten war against another country over nothing more than words, and that by itself greatly increases the likelihood that he might order an attack on Iran over some perceived slight. Trump and his allies have already made sure that tensions with Iran are high and getting worse daily, and the president’s latest outburst will makes things even worse than they were.

Talking about inflicting consequences “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered” strongly suggests a willingness to cause massive death and destruction in Iran. It is imperative that Congress make clear that the president has no authority to order an attack on Iran, which would be a flagrant act of aggression, a violation of the U.N. Charter, and a breach of his oath of office.

Larison is, of course, absolutely correct, but it’s also correct that his plea to Congress will largely fall on deaf ears. While Democrats and some Republicans are likely to stand up and say that the President would have to seek Congressional authorization for any military action against Iran he may contemplate in  the future, in the end, Congress will do absolutely nothing just as it did nothing when President Obama decided to intervene in the Libyan civil war and when Presidents Obama and Trump both decided to significantly ramp up the extent of American involvement in the Syrian civil war. Instead, they’ll sit back and basically let the President do whatever he wants even if that means the United States gets itself involved in a conflict that will make either of those wars seem tame by comparison, and which could have a huge impact on the Middle East as a whole, on oil prices around the world, and on the American economy.

For his part, Kevin Drum isn’t impressed:

So this is where we’re at. The president of the United States threatens to annihilate a country he doesn’t like and…

…it’s mostly treated like playground bluster from a ten-year-old. Nearly everyone seems to be acting like this is just a stupid joke to make fun of, as if it came from a parody of a James Bond movie or something.

By Monday morning Sarah Sanders will have invented some absurd interpretation of what Trump meant and everyone will shrug and pretend to accept it. Trump himself, of course, will refuse to explain anything, claiming that he doesn’t want to give away his game plan. The State Department will issue some kind of tough-but-not-really statement that will explain nothing. And the rest of the Republican Party—aside from the usual lunatic fringe cheering this on—will slink away to their offices, desperately hoping that no one will ask them for comment.

And then we’ll move on.

Drum has a very good point, and it’s worth remembering that this tirade isn’t occuring in a vacum. It comes in the wake of last week’s disastrous summit meeting with Vladimir Putin and was capped off by the revelation on Friday that Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen had recorded a conversation between the two regarding potential pre-election payoffs to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump back when his wife was pregnant with their son. This week, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort goes to trial in the first of two major criminal cases pending against him. Given this, and a domestic situation that quite simply isn’t going well for him, it isn’t entirely surprising that the President would lash out like this against an international rival like Iran, which already does not have a great reputation here in the United States. In fact, I’d expect more tweeting like this in the days and weeks to come, especially since there’s not much good news for the Administration to look forward to. The fact that, in this case, he’s willing to ramp up an already dangerous international situation with irresponsible rhetoric on Twitter, just makes the whole thing more serious and potentially more damaging to American interests.

 

 

 

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Iran, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just the ass wagging the dog.

    12
  2. MarkedMan says:

    Yet another unhinge recent late night rant. It just feeds in to the suspicions that Trump abuses prescription drugs. I always come back to his very close association with two skeevy doctors. The bizarre and eccentric personal physician whose main benefit seemed to be that Trump could visit him without anyone knowing, and pill-man Ronnie Jackson.

    12
  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Action – Reaction…

    Oil prices have already gone up as a result of that tweet

    9
  4. MBunge says:

    So…having been completely wrong at every step along the way with North Korea, you’ve decided to repeat the process with Iran?

    And, we’re going to get NOTHING on the Carter Page FISA warrant?

    Mike

  5. MBunge,

    There was nothing new in the release of the Carter Page warrant that wasn’t already covered in the biased Nunes Memo, the Democratic response, and the report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s clear from what has been released that there was a more than justified basis for that warrant, as four separate Republican-appointed FISA Judges found when they granted and later renewed the search warrants. Had their been anything new in the latest release, I would have commented on it. (Also, I write about what I want to write about)

    Now, how about complying with the comment policies and sticking with the subject matter of the post?

    28
  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    Trump is threatening genocide against a nation with which we are not at war, and you’re ranting about Carter Page? What, did the ‘Z’ fall off your keyboard so you can’t type ‘Benghazi?’ How about Pizzagate. . . nope.

    26
  7. @MBunge:

    Also, if you think anything has changed demonstrably with North Korea, you’re not paying attention.

    26
  8. Kathy says:

    El Cheeto loses credibility with every series of threats, which ultimately result in nothing. Eventually he’ll have to put up, and then there’ll be another thoroughly unnecessary war ending in another multi-year quagmire.

    5
  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So…having been completely wrong at every step along the way with North Korea

    Actually, Bunge, you are the one who was wrong on NoKo.
    As predicted by many, Dennison gave Kim a bunch of concessions and got nada in return.
    He then repeated the same with Putin, offering his surrender in the face of ongoing cyber-attacks on our nation.
    Your Dear leader got played. By Kim and Putin. Apparently you are too dumb to see that.
    So is he going to repeat the same playbook with Iran? Bluster about for a while, then give Iran much of what it wants in return for absolutely nothing?
    The Art of the Shitty Deal.

    It amuses me that you hold such strong convictions about things you clearly are incapable of understanding.

    19
  10. Kathy says:

    @MBunge:

    It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    21
  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    we’re going to get NOTHING on the Carter Page FISA warrant?

    Bunge has a point…but not the one he thinks he has…the nation does need to have a discussion regarding the way Nunes and Meadows have distorted materials they used their security clearances to see, and lied to the citizens of this nation in order to tear down the FBI and ongoing investigations for partisan purposes.
    Nunes, and anyone responsible for helping him, should be removed from any committee positions immediately.
    The way intelligence is being abused for partisan purposes, and institutions like the FBI are being torn apart is not healthy for the Republic.
    We could also discuss how the Democratic response was incredibly accurate and responsible, and how Democrats have become the party of Nat’l Security while Republicans have become pandering court jesters.

    29
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump thinks his Tweet war with Kim is what got Kim to the table. A) No, it wasn’t, the Kims have always been willing to talk, and especially willing to talk to the worst negotiator in diplomatic history. And B) Guess what? They aren’t really at the table, they’re just playing the usual NK games only this time they’ve been waaay more profitable for Kim.

    The Singapore comedy, the NATO disaster, #TraitorTrump’s fiasco in Helsinki, the Manafort trial, Michael Cohen flipping. . . Trump is terrified and feeling surrounded, so he threatens genocide – as one does when one is frustrated. I’ve always said I can predict Trump but I’ll admit to being uncertain which internal force will win out in Trump’s mind: on the one hand he thinks he really needs a war to distract. On the other hand he’s a coward. Self-interest or cowardice?

    I’d argue though that Trump is making a huge mistake if he thinks war with Iran will be popular. Rather than provide a distraction from Mueller it will add rocket fuel because though his cult will grovel no matter what, the cult-adjacent will notice another stupid war in the middle east. He’d be starting a war with 100% of Democrats, 75% of independents and probably 40% of his deplorables against it from the start.

    16
  13. KM says:

    Waiting for the whole “we should ignore his tweets” BS.

    After all, it’s not like they matter, right? It’s just an unhinged threat aimed at a foreign nation by a guy with a ton of nukes and little restraint who thought oh-f^ck-thirty was a great time to get his caps on. What could possible go wrong, especially with his track record? I

    11
  14. reid says:

    While the internet has been a boon in many ways, it’s clearly introduced some problems. An impulsive, unhinged president who thinks he’s king doesn’t mix well with a ready megaphone to the world. It’s become more clear than ever that the power of the presidency needs to be better defined and reigned in. Maybe part of that should be legislated limitations on communications? We’re certainly finding that norms, even good, important ones, won’t necessarily be respected.

    7
  15. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    The problem with Iran is that Israel was pretty close of attacking Iran’s nuclear reactors and that would provoke a war. A direct war between Iran and it’s proxies against Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE and Bahrain would not be unlikely.

    3
  16. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “He’d be starting a war with 100% of Democrats, 75% of independents and probably 40% of his deplorables against it from the start.”

    Not to mention just about every ally the US, aside from the all-new Israel, now with extra apartheid.

    12
  17. Mister Bluster says:

    I see Bungles is SITTING UP STRAIGHT AT ATTENTION AGAIN!
    Just like his SUPREME LEADER MAD MAN TRUMP wants him to!

    3
  18. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    So…having been completely wrong at every step along the way with North Korea, you’ve decided to repeat the process with Iran?

    I thought this was addressed to Trump until I read the next graph and looked to see it was you. It makes perfect sense as a comment addressed to Trump. Worth a quick chuckle.

    9
  19. gVOR08 says:

    Trump is feeling threatened and weak and is lashing out to compensate. Pray he keeps it limited to tweets.

    2
  20. gVOR08 says:

    @reid:

    It’s become more clear than ever that the power of the presidency needs to be better defined and reigned in.

    I’m not worried about his communication, I’d like to see for real limits on his ability to start a war.

    8
  21. al Ameda says:

    Anyone here remember Humphrey Bogart’s performance as Captain Queeg in the 1954 classic movie “The Caine Mutiny? Throughout the movie it’s clear that Queeg is descending into metal illness, his crew knows it, eventually the next officer in the command chain relieves Queeg of his command, and Queeg goes after a court martial for mutinous behavior.

    Queeg: Ahh, but the strawberries that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… ”

    Maybe this is Trump’s ‘strawberries’ moment? Or maybe it’s just another one of thousands of ‘strawberry’ moments for this guy?

    6
  22. reid says:

    @gVOR08: Indeed, that’s a more important issue. But having a president who can broadcast to the world any stupid thing that enters his head seems problematic, too. Ideally, you wouldn’t have such a person as president, I understand….

    1
  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This is obviously meant for Dennison’s base. He knows he looked like a fat orange submissive poodle in Singapore and Helsinki…so now he is trying to look tough on Twitter for his fanboi’s.

    Bolton is getting in on the act too.

    I spoke to the President over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before

    I’ll admit that all the fire and fury comments about NoKo concerned me at the time…but now that I’ve seen him grab his ankles for Kim and Putin…it’s clear that Dennison is a paper kitten.

    4
  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    OT…Interesting factoid from David Frum…I have not verified.
    There are more yoga instructors in the US than coal miners…and more people practice yoga than watch NASCAR.
    (Full disclosure; I neither practice yoga, nor watch NASCAR.)
    Apparently Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is telling people he will run for POTUS in 2020 hoping to win the “Yoga Vote”.

    6
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    What’s so appalling and humiliating is that the President of the United States threatens genocide (in all caps, no less) and the world laughs. They’re not laughing with, they’re laughing at.

    Has there ever been a president so weak, so buffoonish that his threats are simply laughed at?

    14
  26. CSK says:

    Based on Trump’s past behavior with Kim and Putin, he’ll end up calling Rouhani a great guy and offering him Israel.

    7
  27. Yank says:

    Waiting for the whole “we should ignore his tweets” BS.

    After all, it’s not like they matter, right? It’s just an unhinged threat aimed at a foreign nation by a guy with a ton of nukes and little restraint who thought oh-f^ck-thirty was a great time to get his caps on. What could possible go wrong, especially with his track record?

    Normally, I would agree with you. But in this case, it is best to ignore the tweets. Trump is a clown and also a chicken****. This is just a sad attempt by him to try to change the narrative, however, it is not working because his credibility has been shot. Charlottesville, Putin, NK, all this stuff adds up and paints the picture of rather weak, and ineffectual president.

    Dopes like Bunge are still on board, but most people and foreign governments have realized/starting to realize that there is no reason to take this fool seriously about anything. His Kim circa 2014.

    3
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Mr. Pompeo accused Iran’s leadership of widespread corruption at the expense of its citizens’ welfare.

    Apparently, Mr. Pompeo is wanting of a mirror.

    6
  29. charon says:

    Except Trump is delusional. If Trump thinks bringing Putin to Washington in the fall will make him look good, perhaps he fancies the idea of being a popular war president. He wouldn’t be the first president to think being a war president a good idea. And Bolton is sufficiently nuts to be lobbying him for a war.

    4
  30. charon says:

    @Yank:

    But in this case, it is best to ignore the tweets. Trump is a clown and also a chicken****. This is just a sad attempt by him to try to change the narrative, however, it is not working because his credibility has been shot.

    You assume Trump reasons rationally. He does not, he is a psychopath displaying both NPD and ASD, much like some of his fascist role models.

    2
  31. Yank says:

    @charon: Trump does this all the time though. He always threatens and never follows through, because he is a coward.

  32. KM says:

    @Yank:

    He always threatens and never follows through, because he is a coward.

    Cowards backed into a corner may lash out with fatal results if given the right tools or circumstances. How many cowards wouldn’t make a peep unarmed but suddenly get their attitude on if you hand them a gun? They get real brave when they’re not taking the blows physically but can operate from a distance. A stupid, cowardly sumbitch may just run his mouth but one that’s packing might follow false confidence to tragic ends. It only takes one time for someone to follow though before people start to die.

    Trump’s spent his life as an unarmed coward – his weapons were his mouth, his money and his lawyers. Voters gave him control of an army, a huge arsenal and the ability to cause worlds of pain where he doesn’t have to be involved (and can be hiding safely in a bunker if it goes down). That changes the equation. He can now pick fights with anyone and if he has to, it’s not him that’s going to bleed for his rhetoric. He’s not even going to be on the same continent as the threat so he’s going to feel relatively secure in his decision – it’s not like violence is going to show up at his door.

    I’d love to be able to dismiss him and laugh at his pathetic little manbaby rage. Thing is, I’ve seen the results of people like him that were dismissed as a joke until it was too damn late. Been to enough funerals, don’t need more. Remember, it’s not Trump and his family that will pay the price if he decides he’s done being laughed at.

    9
  33. dazedandconfused says:

    Drum pooh-poohs chances of war, and I suppose that is the correct thing to do. The more people pay attention to his spewings on Iran the more he obsessed on the subject he will become. I wish people would stop paying any attention to his tweets, but our media is not going to…those things are great for ratings.

    The danger is that if he really is hiding something egregious and prosecutable and becomes convinced Mueller has him nailed for it, such as a long history of money-laundering, he might panic and feel only a war will serve to deflect being impeached or worse. There my be no critter more unstable and more dangerous than a cornered malignant narcissist. Whistle past this grave yard an your peril, Mr. Drum.

    1
  34. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Bunge has a point…but not the one he thinks he has…the nation does need to have a discussion regarding the way Nunes and Meadows have distorted materials they used their security clearances to see, and lied to the citizens of this nation in order to tear down the FBI and ongoing investigations for partisan purposes.

    Not to mention Fox News just flat out lying about what is in the FISA request.

    How does a democracy function when a quarter of the people (including the President) get their information from a source only slightly more credible than InfoWars?

    There’s so much worth talking about with Carter Page.

    What can a country do when a major news organization decides they will get better ratings telling people what they want to hear, rather than the truth?

    Restaurants in Seattle and NYC are required to post a sign in their window that has their health department inspection ratings. Should news organizations have to do the same, with a once an hour blurb? Who would rate them? How would we make this happen? Is there an alternative free market solution?

    4
  35. mike shupp says:

    I’ve watched this for going on 40 years now. Ever since those Iranian students took American diplomats hostage during their revolution back in Jimmy Carter’s day, there have been Americans who regard Iranians basically the way SS troopers regarded Jews. Those were people — inferior people — who deserved to be killed, and would be killed. The only question was when Except the Germans sounded more civilized when they talked about it..

    At the time, I just thought this was a barbaric quirk, having to do with the ignorance of unsophisticated people who had never met or had few dealings with Iranians. (I was taking college courses at night with Iranian students; I worked with a couple in my daytime engineering job.) I didn’t read much into it, but in retrospect, looking back I wonder if that instant hot dislike of a foreign ethnic group may not have been a precursor of the attitudes displayed today by Trump supporters.

    I think I saw something important 40 years ago, and didn’t know what I saw.

    2