“The bottom line is we don’t yet know” what caused the explosion, Esper told Fox News in an interview aired this weekend.
“Yesterday, I commented that it looks more like an accident and it’s a pity that some of the media … are trying to cause a divide in administration between maybe me and the President and the others, it’s simply not true, “he said.
The Esper told the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday that the US “is still getting information on what happened. Most believe it was a reported crash and I have nothing to report. More on that. It was clearly a tragedy. “
Hours after the Esper said “most believe”; that the Beirut blast “was an accident”, Trump doubted the plausibility of it being an accident at a White House press conference, saying, “How can you say an accident?” At the same time, “Right now you have some people who think it’s an attack and some people think it’s not.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went even further when asked about Esper’s assessment that the blast could have been an accident, saying: “From Secretary Esper’s point of view, he doesn’t know.”
On Tuesday, Trump said he spoke to some “of our generals” and they rated the blast as a bombing.
The Beirut explosion left at least 158 dead and dozens more missing. More than 6,000 people were injured in the incident.