During a news conference alongside French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO Summit this Tuesday, President Trump was asked by a reporter if he supports the protesters in Iran, who've been met with a brutal government response that has so far left around 200 people dead.
"I don't want to speak to that," Trump replied, before adding, "The answer is no."
Asked if the U.S. supports Iranian protesters, Pres. Trump says, "I don't want to comment on that, but the answer's… https://t.co/wesrzrjGka— ABC News Politics (@ABC News Politics) 1575385068.0
Trump's comment seemingly contradicts words from his own Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who just yesterday suggested that the US sees the Iranian government as the villain in the unrest.
During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Pompeo said that the US supports the protesters and that “we’ve done our best to make sure they can continue to communicate by using the internet,” despite a move last week by the Iranian government to shut it down “in its entirety” in the country.
In later comments at the University of Louisville, Pompeo said Iran is the uniting factor in protests around the Middle East. When speaking about the recent resignation of Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, Pompeo said it was "because the people were demanding freedom and the security forces had killed dozens and dozens of people. That's due in large part to Iranian influence."
"The same is true in Lebanon, the protests in Beirut," he added. "They want Hezbollah and Iran out of their country, out of their system as a violent and a repressive force."
In regards to the protests in Iran, Pompeo said that they're due to the fact that the Iranian people are "fed up."
"They see a theocracy that is stealing money, the ayatollahs stealing tens and tens of millions of dollars," he said.
Trump's answer on the Iranian question puzzled many observers:
Weird moment. Trump was asked if he backed the Iranian protesters. He said he didn't want to comment, and then says: "The answer is no".— Julian Borger (@Julian Borger) 1575385671.0