President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed a report that he was reviewing a plan to send hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to the Middle East, saying he’d send “a hell of a lot more troops than that” if he decided to get more aggressive with Iran.
The New York Times reported Monday that top national security officials at the White House were presented last week with an updated plan by acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan that “envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.”
“I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump told reporters while leaving the White House 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. If we did that, we would send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”
The conflict in Iran took several turns last week, with the U.S. deploying a Navy strike group and a unit of B-52 bombers to the region early in the week, followed by another warship and a battery of air-defense missiles, in response to what U.S. officials said was intelligence about threats from Iran. Secretary of State Mike…