Donald Trump has boasted about how he fired missiles at Iraq when he actually fired them at Syria.
The president was describing how he had informed Chinese President Xi Jinping about last week’s missile strike as they both ate “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen”.
Xi was having dinner with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at the moment Trump gave the order to fire at an Assad regime airbase.
The dictator had gassed a rebel-held town, killing scores of people, including more than 30 children.
“What happens is, I said: ‘We’ve just launched 59 missiles headed toward Iraq’,” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.
“Headed to Syria?” journalist Maria Bartiromo asked.
“Yes, heading toward Syria,” Trump said without breaking his stride, adding he told Xi at the time: “I want you to know that.”
It is unclear whether Trump actually told Xi the missiles were heading for Iraq.
Trump added that Xi had asked the interpreter to repeat what Trump had said.
According to Trump, Xi then said: “Anybody who uses gases to do that to young children and babies, it’s ok.”
Earlier in the Fox News interview, Trump said he had been asked how he told Xi the news many times.
“You have no idea how many people want to hear to the answer to this,” he said.
Beaming, Bartiromo asked: “When did you tell him? Before dessert?”
Trump said he would tell Fox News because they had “treated me so good for so long, I have to answer”.
The president said all 59 of the missiles hit their targets, prompting Bartiromo to admiringly say: “Unmanned. Brilliant.”
Trump added: “It’s brilliant. It’s genius.”
After Xi’s return, state-run Chinese newspaper The Global Times suggested the strike on Syria raised the possibility of one against North Korea, China’s ally, as tensions mount and a US aircraft carrier group heads to the region.
“A military strike on the North will very likely evolve into large-scale bloody war,” it warned.