WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump ponders retaliation on Iran, he and a close Republican ally had a spat over the supposed "weakness" of the last U.S. confrontation with Tehran.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Twitter that Trump's decision to call off a military strike on Iran for taking out a U.S. drone in June may have emboldened the Iranians to attack an oil facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
"The measured response by President @realDonaldTrump regarding the shooting down of an American drone was clearly seen by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness," Graham said in a series of tweets.
Trump, while on a fundraising trip to California, quickly snapped back: "No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!"
No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand! https://t.co/EU8AvfH7j9— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
When Trump called off a military strike on Iran three months ago, he said it could have killed people on the ground and that would have been a disproportionate response to an attack on an unmanned drone.
Now the Trump administration is considering a response to what it calls Iran's involvement in last weekend's attack on a Saudi Arabia oil facility, a strike that disrupted more than 5% of the world's supply and sent energy prices soaring.
Iran denies the attack, and accuses the United States of warmongering.
On Wednesday, Trump has more fundraising events in Southern California before a late-night return to the White House.
While one of Trump's fiercest critics during the 2016 Republican primaries, Graham has emerged as one of his most vocal supporters since he moved into the White House.
In his series of tweets on Iran, Graham described the oil attack as an act of war and urged the Trump administration to react accordingly along with allies in the region.
"I applaud the Administration’s efforts to create a regional coalition, thoroughly brief the Congress on the actions taken, and come up with a plan of action to restore deterrence against an evil regime in Iran," Graham said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham clash over nixed Iran military strike