Buttigieg: Trump administration's low credibility adding uncertainty on oil tanker attacks

Buttigieg: Trump administration's low credibility adding uncertainty on oil tanker attacks
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegAirlines should give flight attendants 10 hours of rest between flights: FAA GOP memo urges lawmakers to blame White House 'grinches' for Christmas delays Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE said in an interview broadcast early Sunday that while the evidence is “compelling” that Iran was behind recent attacks on oil tankers, the Trump administration’s low credibility is adding a level of uncertainty.

“I think what we've seen is compelling,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when asked if the administration has provided enough proof that Iran was behind the tanker attacks


“There seems to be more information that we haven't had a chance to see,” Buttigieg, a former Navy intelligence officer, added.

“It's a little distressing to think that because this administration's credibility is so low in general, I think a lot of people are thinking twice at a moment when America's word should be decisive," he said. "When the U.S. says this is something that has happened and this is the consensus of our administration, that should be something that goes without question. But of course, that's just not the case in an administration that has been extremely unreliable in so many ways.”

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoThe CIA's next mission: Strategic competition with China and Russia Biden, Trump tied in potential 2024 match-up: poll Why is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? MORE last Friday blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers earlier in the week.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks the occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo said in a statement

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used and the level of expertise needed the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” he added.

Iran quickly pushed back on the claims.

“These accusations are alarming,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, adding that blaming Tehran was “the simplest and the most convenient way for Pompeo and other U.S. officials.”

Buttigieg said on NBC that the attacks are “not inconsistent with Iranian behavior that has been aggressive and often malignant in the region.

“The real question is what can we do, given the facts on the ground, to ensure a measured response that will deescalate, rather than inflame, tensions in the region?” he added.