By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
As tensions with Iran continue to intensify, President Donald Trump on Friday announced that the U.S. would send an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East.
TROOPS’ ‘PROTECTIVE’ MISSION
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn before departing to Japan, Trump said the troops would have a “mostly protective” role. “I certainly don’t think [Iran] wants to fight with us,” he said.
As the Associated Press writes, the administration had notified Congress earlier in the day about the deployment. Their mission would include protecting U.S. forces already in the region and ensuring freedom of navigation , said the notification obtained by the AP. The U.S. began reinforcing its presence in the Persian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.
Crude-oil futures /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +0.06% rose 58 cents to $58.49 a barrel.
Trump also said he hadn’t decided on pardons for U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes — a move he has been considering that has been opposed by former and current military officials . “I haven’t made any decisions. There’s two or three of them right now. It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on and I’ll make my decision after the trial,” Trump said.
WORKING WITH PELOSI
After trading barbs with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, Trump told reporters he “can work with the speaker” but continued to blast what he calls Democrats’ desire for a “do-over” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.
“It’s over,” he said. “There is no re-do. They lost.”
Trump abruptly ended a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday after Pelosi accused the president of being “engaged in a coverup” over access to sensitive documents and testimony from key advisers.
MODI AND MAY
Trump also said he’d congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on securing a second five-year term, and that he felt “badly” for outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
“I feel badly for Theresa, I like her very much,” Trump said.
Relations between Trump and May weren’t in fact always so warm. In one interview in July 2018, for instance, Trump said May’s “soft” Brexit plan would “kill” any potential trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K. In that same interview, with British newspaper the Sun, Trump said former foreign minister Boris Johnson would “make a great prime minister.” Johnson is now the favorite in the race to succeed May.
May said Friday she would resign on June 7, following failed attempts to get parliament to ratify her Brexit plans.
Brexit Brief: The contenders to replace Theresa May as U.K. prime minister.