On Monday, Mike Pence’s chief of staff sought to calm a nervous public after his boss’s boss said the US military is “locked and loaded” pending word from Saudi Arabia on who was responsible for Saturday’s attacks on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure.
“There is reason to believe that we know the culprit”, Donald Trump said, in a late Sunday tweet, adding that the US is “locked and loaded depending on verification”.
The next day, Marc Short feebly attempted to suggest that Trump wasn’t referring to the military, despite the president having used the same phrase (or, actually, “cocked” and loaded) back in June to describe how tense the situation was in the minutes before he ultimately called off strikes on Iran after the IRGC downed a US drone. “Locked and loaded is a reflection that this administration has advanced policies that makes sure America is safer from these sorts of oil shocks”, Short explained.
Got that? According to Short, Trump was, at least partly, talking about energy independence on Sunday night, not bombing the Iranians.
Obviously, that’s laughable. Trump was absolutely talking about military action, and someone who knows that is Mike Pence.
While speaking in Washington at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, the vice president said the US intelligence community is “at this very hour working diligently to review the evidence” around the attacks on Saudi Arabia. And that’s not all he said. Here’s Mike:
“I promise you, we’re ready”, Pence said, putting on his trademark mean face, which he famously donned at the DMZ on the Korean peninsula in 2017 to jeers from social media.
“As the president said, we don’t want war with anybody, but the United States is prepared”, he continued. “We’re locked and loaded”.
So, yes, America. Contrary to what Pence’s chief of staff said Monday, Pence himself knows exactly what Trump means when he says “locked and loaded” (or “cocked” and loaded, for that matter).
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is busy cobbling together a public presentation of declassified material that will apparently be released within 48 hours.
On Tuesday, CBS reported that according to a senior official, the Trump administration has pinpointed the launch sites for Saturday’s attacks on the Saudis. Those sites are in Iran.