That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view.
Which brings us to Iran.
Asked about the troop proposal, which the Times made clear Trump had not yet seen, the President said this on Tuesday:
“Now would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully, we’re not going to have to plan for that, and if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”
Which is pretty remarkable! The President of the United States saying he would be willing to commit more than 120,000 troops to a war with Iran!
But not as remarkable as this flurry of tweets that private citizen Donald Trump sent back in the fall of 2012. Here we go!
He then followed those up the following year with these two tweets:
What would Trump 2012/2013 say Trump 2019 is, you know, doing here?
All of this back-and-forth may, ultimately, be sound and fury signifying nothing. A war with Iran — giving its location in the Middle East and its ties to Russia — would have both regional and global impacts that are not only dangerous to world stability but decidedly difficult to predict. And we know from Trump’s approach to North Korea that he can bluster without acting — and then pivot entirely and open up a conversation with a country that he appeared ready to go to war with just weeks (or even days) earlier.
What is instructive here — no matter what Trump ultimately decides to do in regards Iran — is that Trump is doing exactly what he warned Republicans Obama was doing in 2012 and 2013. He’s ramping up the rhetoric with Iran and talking tough. (“If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake,” Trump said Monday. “If they do anything they will suffer greatly.”)
And he’s doing all of that even as the country’s attention turns to the 2020 campaign.