Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said he lacked trust in President Trump as he backed a top British general’s assessment regarding an increased threat from Iran.
“I do not trust the president. He is a pathological liar on most everything,” Garamendi said during an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday.
Although the Trump administration has beefed up its military presence in the Persian Gulf in response to “troubling and escalatory” threats from Iran, Garamendi said intelligence he received suggests that there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces. He cautioned that the U.S. could head toward a Gulf of Tonkin incident, which prompted the U.S. to become involved in the Vietnam War.
“What I heard is information that indicates that there is a threat, but it’s the same threat that was there six months ago, a year ago, and, in fact, is less because ISIS is defeated,” Garamendi said. “Yes, there are concerns in Iraq. Do we need an aircraft carrier to deal with those? Do we need B-52 bombers? Or do we have the drumbeat of war here? Are we headed for a Gulf of Tonkin situation? I believe we may very well be in that situation.”
British Army Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika offered a similar assessment of Iran’s threat on Tuesday during a video press briefing from Baghdad.
“There’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” said Ghika, deputy commander of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. “We’re aware of their presence, clearly, and we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in.”
Even so, Ghika emphasized that his comments were not meant to counter the assessment provided by the White House and Pentagon.
But the Pentagon challenged Ghika’s statement and U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said that the remarks “run counter to identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”
The Trump administration has sent the USS Abraham Lincoln, B-52 bombers, and a Patriot anti-missile battery to the region in response to alleged increased threats from Iran.