Good evening. Myself, with Secretary Esper,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley, came here to Florida today to brief the President
on the activities that have taken place in the Middle East over the course of the last
72 hours. I will leave to Secretary Esper to talk about
the military activity, but I want to put it in the context of our policy with respect
to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The attacks that took place against an Iraqi facility
threatened American forces. This has been going on now for weeks and weeks and weeks.
This wasn’t the first set of attacks against this particular Iraqi facility and others
where there were American lives at risk. And today, what we did was take a decisive
response that makes clear what President Trump has said for months and months and months,
which is that we will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put
American men and women in jeopardy. We will — we will always honor that commitment
to take decisive action when that takes place, and we continue to demand that the Islamic
Republic of Iran act in a way that is consistent with what I laid out, back in May of 2018,
for what it is that we expect Iran to do so that it can rejoin the community of nations. And with that, I’ll turn it over to the
Secretary of Defense. SECRETARY ESPER: Thank you. As we reported
earlier today, the Department of Defense took offensive actions in defense of our personnel
and interests in Iraq by launching F-15 Strike Eagles against five targets associated with
Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is an Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group. The targets we attacked
included three targets in Western Iraq and two targets in Eastern Syria that were either
command and control facilities or weapons caches for Kata’ib Hezbollah. The strikes were successful. The pilots and
aircraft returned back to base safely. I would add that, in our discussion today with the
President, we discussed with him other options that are available. And I would note also
that we will take additional actions as necessary to ensure that we act in our own self-defense
and we deter further bad behavior from militia groups or from Iran. Thank you.