President Trump on Wednesday minimized the injuries of several U.S. service members who suffered concussions during an Iranian missile attack on two Iraqi bases that house American personnel.
“I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report that it’s not very serious,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland.
“I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” he continued. “I’ve seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. … I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, in that war.”
“No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no,” he added, referring to the soldiers who were taken for treatment last week.
President Trump is asked about the Americans troops that were injured in the Iran missile attacks on bases in Iraq last week after previously saying that no Americans were injured. #WEF2020 https://t.co/88r3VMcJe9 pic.twitter.com/oxx0IdkZIP
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 22, 2020
The president declared earlier this month that there were no casualties after Iran fired missiles at the bases housing U.S. forces on Jan. 8. But the Pentagon last week revealed 11 U.S. troops were evacuated from Iraq and taken to hospitals in Germany and Kuwait for treatment for concussions suffered during attack on Al Asad Air Base.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that additional U.S. troops were flown to Germany for closer evaluation for similar injuries, though the exact number was not known.
The Iranian missile attack came as a direct response to a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The two countries appeared to step back from the brink of military conflict after the attacks, though tensions remain.
The Trump administration has faced intense pressure from lawmakers in both parties about its justification for the strike that killed Soleimani. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo initially said the general posed an “imminent threat” to American lives, and Trump later said he was targeting four U.S. embassies. But officials have struggled to defend both explanations.
The House passed a resolution earlier this month to rein in Trump’s war powers with regards to Iran, and a similar Senate resolution appears to have the votes needed to pass.