RNA - Keane’s comments on the evening of June 20 regarding how to respond to Iran’s downing of a US drone dissuaded Trump from an Iran attack, according to sources close to the president.
The comments on Trump's favorite TV news channel made a profound impact on the president, who was “spooked”, according to a report published by Politico on Tuesday which cited two sources briefed on the president's reaction.
Keane, who was making his second appearance of the day on the Fox News Channel, said that Trump, who had speculated earlier in the day that the Iranian action might have been a fluke rather than a deliberate provocation, had a point.
“Our viewers may have forgotten, but during the tanker war in the late ‘80s when Reagan did take some action, we actually made a mistake,” Keane said, referring to President Ronald Reagan. “We had a USS warship shoot down an Iranian airliner in Iranian airspace. Two-hundred ninety people killed. Sixty-six of them were children," claimed the 76-year-old former Army vice chief of staff.
Keane added, "we made a horrific mistake!”
Trump, who had green lighted airstrikes, told NBC News the day after changing his mind on the airstrikes that, given a Pentagon estimate that the retaliatory strikes could leave 150 civilians dead, he didn’t believe the strikes were a “proportional” response to the downing of an unmanned drone.
It is unclear to what degree Keane’s description of the decades-old incident was in the president’s decision to call off the airstrikes on Iranian targets.
According to Politico, Trump has twice offered Keane the job of Secretary of Defense .
He declined Trump’s first offer during the summer of 2016.
The president repeated the offer in 2018.
Keane declined again.