Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former vice president Mike Pence urged Donald Trump to attack Iran after it was clear the latter had lost the 2020 election, according to a report in the New Yorker.
The notion of a military strike was staunchly opposed, however, by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
“If you do this, you’re gonna have a fucking war,” Milley is said to have warned Trump.
According to the report, when Milley later asked why they were so intent on attacking the Iranians, Pence replied: “Because they are evil.”
Milley believed while Trump did not necessarily want a war, he sought a missile strike in response to Iranian provocations against U.S. interests in the region.
The report said:
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. Trump did not want a war, the chairman believed, but he kept pushing for a missile strike in response to various provocations against U.S. interests in the region. Milley, by statute the senior military adviser to the President, was worried that Trump might set in motion a full-scale conflict that was not justified. 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. “If you do this, you’re gonna have a fucking war,” Milley would say.
The report went on to say the outgoing president convened his advisers in the Oval Office on January 3 to discuss recent reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear activities.
At that point both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump “it was not possible to do anything militarily at that point,” the report said. “Their attitude was that it was ‘too late to hit them.’
“After Milley walked through the potential costs and consequences, Trump agreed. And that was that: after months of anxiety and uncertainty, the Iran fight was over.”