US President Donald Trump speaks during an event about expanding health coverage options for small businesses and workers in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, June 14, 2019.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump said Friday that he doesn’t want war with Iran, but if it comes there will be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”
“But I’m not looking to do that,” the president added in and exclusive interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd for “Meet the Press.”
Trump said there were no pre-conditions for U.S. talks with Tehran.
“You can’t have nuclear weapons,” Trump said. “And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise, you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.”
Trump also discussed his decision-making process that led him to halt strikes on Iran on Thursday night, saying that he hadn’t given final approval to any attack and adding that no planes were in the air.
Asked if planes were in the air, the president responded, “No, but they would have been pretty soon, and things would have happened to a point where you would not turn back, you could not turn back.”
“Nothing was green lighted until the very end because things change,” Trump said during the interview with Todd.
Earlier, the president tweeted that he was “cocked and loaded” to strike several targets in Iran but deemed the loss of life would be disproportionate to the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone.
He told NBC on Friday that a plan was “ready to go, subject my approval.”
Trump said he asked his generals, “I want to know something before you go. How many people would be killed, in this case Iranians?”
The generals said approximately 150 people would be killed, the president said.
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“I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead,” Trump said. “And I didn’t like it, I didn’t think, I didn’t think it was proportionate.”
On another topic, Todd asked Trump, “Why do you think Nancy Pelosi has held off her impeachment caucus?”
Trump said “because I think she feels that I will win much easier. I’ve been told that by many people.
“I think I win the election easier,” the president continued. “But I’m not sure that I like having it. I did nothing wrong. I was spied on. What they did to me was illegal…So impeachment’s a very unfair thing because nothing that I did was wrong.”
The interview will air Sunday on “Meet the Press.”