Though reports are pointing to Iran being responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said the passengers and crew members died as a result of a "military tit for tat."
“Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing a video of a CBS News story reporting that “U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down” the jet. “My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all 176 souls lost aboard this flight.”
Critics slammed the presidential candidate for his statement about the crash, saying it appeared as though he was blaming America.
Iran allegedly shoots down a commercial airliner, and Pete Buttigieg’s first reaction is to blame America. Ridiculous.https://t.co/2e2ipUL3kh— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 9, 2020
Democrat Pete Buttigieg is basically blaming the United States for Iran shooting down a passenger plane https://t.co/hYiwcedPfz— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 9, 2020
What a POS statement— Catturd (@catturd2) January 9, 2020
Wow you are a disaster— Alex deGrasse (@Degrasse81) January 9, 2020
Did the Ayatollah write this? https://t.co/vwNXHGqlRB— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) January 10, 2020
Uh, Pete, they weren’t “caught in the middle.” They were shot down BY IRAN. Military incompetence by the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Just because Dems hate Trump doesn’t justify false equivalence w/ Iran. Soleimani was a brutal terrorist who killed hundreds of Americans. https://t.co/KiGS8p5kHL— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 9, 2020
Newsweek reported Thursday that Pentagon officials believe Iran shot down the commercial jet.
"Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737–800 en route from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airpot to Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data Tuesday just minutes after takeoff and not long after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in neighboring Iraq," Newsweek said. "The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter."
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's Security Council, also said one of the main theories for why the jet crashed was that it was struck by a missile, citing reports that missile components were found near the wreckage.
When asked about what he thought caused the crash, President Trump said he had his "suspicions."
"It's a tragic thing when I see that. It's a tragic thing," he said. "But somebody could have made a mistake on the other side."
.@CBSNews broke this news while the President was holding an event. Trump was asked what he thought happened to the plane:— Sara Cook (@saraecook) January 9, 2020
"I have my suspicions...It's a tragic thing when I see that. It's a tragic thing. But somebody could have made a mistake on the other side."