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Florida Rep. Gaetz: 'I am no cheerleader for war with Iran'
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Thursday said that he doesn't support going to war with Iran and argued that he doesn't think President Trump does either amid escalating tensions.
"I am no cheerleader for war with Iran and neither is President Trump," Gaetz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Hill.TV during an interview on "Rising."
"U.S. war with Iran is not the right approach today," he added.
Gaetz, who is one of Trump's strongest supporters, argued that potentially engaging in war with Iran would go against the president's "America First" and noninterventionist policies.
"President Trump ran as a different kind of Republican - one that wanted to end wars not start them," he said.
The Iran Revolutionary Guard reportedly shot down a U.S. military drone early Thursday morning, escalating tensions between the two countries.
While Tehran's state news agency IRNA said the Guard shot down the drone over Hormozgan Province in southern Iran, U.S. officials claim that the incident took place in the international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
The Guard's commander, Major-General Hossein Salami, made it clear that Iran is not seeking war with any country, but would "defend the country against aggression."
"Shooting down of the U.S. spy drone has a clear message and it is the fact that the defenders of this country are ready to give a decisive response to any aggression," Salami told Tehran's state news agency.
Fears of war between the U.S. and Iran have been on the rise after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of being behind attacks of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The Iranian government has denied any involvement in those attacks.
Gaetz argued that other countries have a lot more to lose if conflict breaks out in the region. He also called for China to take action, adding that it is "highly likely" that the Iran capabilities that were used to shoot down the U.S. drone were purchased from the country.
"There are a lot of other stakeholders that need to be involved in the Straits of Hormuz before we make the United States the global policeman in that particular area," Gaetz said.
"China has a lot more skin in the game than we do, they need to be engaged to help us reduce Iranian aggression and that will make the world a lot safer," he added.
China and the U.S., meanwhile, remain locked in a heated trade dispute.
But President Trump tweeted Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to an "extended meeting" next week in Japan. The president added that "our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting."
- Tess Bonn