Trump approved military strikes against Iran — but pulled back Thursday night: New York Times
President Donald Trump -- screenshot

Military officials were expecting to strike Iran as late as 7 p.m. on Thursday after President Donald Trump had approved attacks, The New York Times reports.

But then he pulled back, at least temporarily.

"Even as the military machinery cranked up to launch an attack on Iran on his orders in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American spy drone, Mr. Trump called it off, opting for restraint over retaliation, at least for now," the newspaper reported.

"Even if Mr. Trump ultimately does not resort to force in response to the drone attack, the decision on how far he is willing to go in terms of Iran may not be far-off. The episode was only the latest in a series of relatively modest provocations, but Tehran has said it is about to turn its nuclear program back on in a way that will go beyond the limits of the agreement Mr. Trump abandoned," The Times explained.

The newspaper described Trump as "a commander in chief of contradictions."

"He talks like a bellicose warmonger but acts like an isolationist peacenik. He warns enemies that he will rain down 'fire and fury' on them while striving to avoid more of the foreign wars he blames his predecessors for waging," the paper explained.

ABC News confirmed the report.