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  • Paul Steinhauser

Buttigieg slams Trump over Iran escalation, vows ‘I’m going to win’ in 2020


Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to an overflow crowd before making a scheduled appearance at Exeter Town Hall Friday evening. [Paul Steinhauser]

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is blasting President Donald Trump for “chest-thumping militarism” and warned that rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran “could very quickly get away from this president.”


At a campaign event Friday night in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, the one-time long shot for the nomination -- who has surged the past two months to become a credible contender -- also vowed that “I’m going to win” as he took an indirect jab at former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear front-runner in the Democratic 2020 race.


The South Bend, Indiana mayor and Afghanistan War veteran criticized the Republican president just hours after the Pentagon said that 1,500 additional U.S. forces and firepower are headed to the Middle East as the specter of potential conflict with Tehran increases.


The Trump administration has been ringing alarms the past month over what it calls “troubling” and “escalatory” moves by Iran. The U.S. has been raising the volume on Iran ever since the president took the country out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran a year ago.


Trump has spent weeks alternating between tough talk towards Tehran while still insisting he’s open to negotiating with the Islamic Republican. On Friday, the president told reporters before departing on a trip to Japan that “we’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.”


Buttigieg, speaking at a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire, claimed that Trump “now seems to be setting us on a course that could lead to violent confrontation.”


He later told reporters that “I’m very worried because we have steps towards confrontation in Iran that almost make it seem as though we learned nothing from the experience in Iraq.”


And he warned that “what we’re seeing right now is a set of escalations that could very quickly get away from this president to where he’s not even in control.”


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