Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that “most believe” that the explosion in Beirut “was an accident, as reported,” despite President Donald Trump’s claim a day prior that it was an attack.
The US is “still getting information on what happened” in regard to the blast in the Lebanese capital, Esper said. US defense officials also told CNN there was no indication the explosion was an attack, despite Trump’s assertion Tuesday.
Esper’s remarks came as part of a discussion at the annual Aspen Security Forum, where he said he spoke about the blast with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday morning.
“We’re reaching out to the Lebanese government, have reached out. We’re positioning ourselves to provide them whatever assistance we can, humanitarian aid, medical supplies, you name it, to assist the people of Lebanon,” said Esper.
On Wednesday, Pompeo spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, expressing his condolences and pledging assistance in the wake of the explosion that rocked Beirut Tuesday.
“The secretary reaffirmed our steadfast commitment to assist the Lebanese people as they cope with the aftermath of this terrifying event,” a readout from State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown said. “Secretary Pompeo further stressed our solidarity with and support for the Lebanese people as they strive for the dignity, prosperity, and security they deserve.”