President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are heading to Tokyo Friday, as tensions rise between the president and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and as he orders more troops to head to the Middle East to handle Iran.
CBS News has confirmed that the new deployment of forces to the Persian Gulf will include more Patriot missile batteries and other force protection systems and will be designed for the long-haul confrontation with Iran, CBS News' David Martin reports, citing U.S. officials. Mr. Trump told reporters before departing the White House that some "very talented" people going to Middle East, and about 1,500 people will be sent to the Persian Gulf. A congressional aide also confirmed to CBS News that Congress was notified the administration plans to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East.
"We want to have protection, the middle east we're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn Friday. "And uh, some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now, and we'll see how — and we'll see what happens."
Only last week, the president insisted he wasn't considering sending more troops to the Middle East, after the New York Times reported he was considering doing so to counter Iran if necessary.
"I think it's fake news, OK?" Trump told reporters while leaving the White House last week. "Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. If we did that, we would send a hell of a lot more troops than that."
The president also said of the resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May that he feels bad and likes her very much. He also mentioned that he'd be seeing her in two weeks, when he travels to Europe.
Mr. Trump told reporters he has not yet made any decisions on pardoning U.S. forces accused of war crimes. He said he plans to take a look at the cases.
"We're looking at a lot of different pardons for a lot of different people," the president said. "Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know we teach them how to be great fighters and then when they fight sometimes they get treated really very unfairly. So we're going to take a look at it. I haven't done anything yet, I haven't made any decisions. There's two or three of them right now. It's a little bit controversial. It's very possible that I'll let the trials go on and I'll make my decision after the trial."
Overnight, the presidentthat aired on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business show, a video edited to make Pelosi's speech appear mumbled and incomprehensible. On Thursday, Pelosi suggested Mr. Trump's family or staff should stage an intervention for the president, prompting Mr. Trump to suggest the nation's most powerful female politician is "a mess" and "crazy." The president, taking questions from reporters at an event in which he announced more bailouts for farmers hurt by his trade war with China, spent much of his time blasting Pelosi and questioning her competence.
The president, defending his performance in a roughly five-minute infrastructure meet with Pelosi and Schumer that fell apart earlier this week, insisted he is an "extremely stable genius."
"When the 'extremely stable genius' starts acting more presidential, I'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues," Pelosi followed up in a tweet.
Mr. Trump appeared to roll back his criticism of Pelosi before reporters on Friday.
"I don't know about the videos, I'm here to help the country," Mr. Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn.
"Did you hear, she made horrible statements she knows they're not true, she said terrible things, so I just responded in kind," the president added.
"You think Nancy is the same as she was, I think frankly right now we are, I'm only speaking for myself, I want to do what's good for the country. I think Nancy Pelosi is not helping this country."
, Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet Japan's emperor, as well as attend a sumo wrestling event. A senior administration official says Mr. Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe are likely to hold a joint press conference at some point on the trip.