South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday on "State of the Union" that it is "extremely disturbing" and "shocking" to see escalating tensions with Iran.
"There is a pattern that is disturbingly reminiscent of the run-up to the war in Iraq, in some cases being driven by the same people," he added. "The fact that one of the architects of the Iraq War is the president's national security adviser right now, when the president himself has pretended that he was against the Iraq War all along, this is shocking. And it should be extremely disturbing to all of us."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Let's turn to Iran. The United States is blaming Iran for an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week. The U.S. says this video that we're showing you right now proves it. The U.S. government said it shows Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers.
Secretary of State Pompeo called the attack part of -- quote -- "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran."
Do you agree? And how would you respond if you were president right now?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think we need a measured assessment of information as it continues to come in.
There's no question that Iran has a pattern of malign activities. There's also no question that there is a pattern that is disturbingly reminiscent of the run-up to the war in Iraq, in some cases being driven by the same people.
I mean, the fact that one of the architects of the Iraq War is the president's national security adviser right now, when the president himself has pretended that he was against the Iraq War all along, this is shocking. And it should be extremely disturbing to all of us.
As somebody who felt five years ago, when I left Afghanistan, that I was one of the last troops leaving, and five years ago, notes that we're still there. And, pretty soon, you're going to be old enough to enlist and be sent over and have not even been alive on 9/11.
I think we have learned as a country in my lifetime just how hard it is to end a war. We'd better be working very hard to make sure we don't start one.
And you when you look at the destabilizing chain reaction that appears to have been initiated when this president withdrew us from the Iran nuclear deal, I'm very concerned about the stability of the region and the possibility that this is a dynamic that even the president won't be able to control, if it continues to move in the direction of escalation and hostility.
TAPPER: But what would you do if you were president? Because whatever you think about the path that the president is taking us, in terms -- taking the nation, in terms of withdrawing from the Iran deal, sanctions on Iran, sending a fleet to the region, to the Strait of Hormuz, this is an act of violence by Iran, if you believe Secretary Pompeo and the Pentagon.
Do you believe Secretary Pompeo and the Pentagon that Iran is behind this? And what would you do?
BUTTIGIEG: So, as president, the first thing I would do is consult with the intelligence community, and not politicize their findings, but try to find out what's going on.
I think, at this point, there's still a lot that we need to make sure we understand about what's going on there. There's no question that the U.S. has an interest in maintaining the security and safety and freedom of movement in those key shipping lanes.
There's also no question that, whatever we do, we need to make sure that we're not contributing to a dynamic that could become more and more unstable, and could lead to something that could get away from the White House itself.
TAPPER: Do you believe Secretary Pompeo?
BUTTIGIEG: Based on what we have -- I mean, what we have seen is video evidence.
But I think we also want to see a lot more context about exactly what's happening. And that's hopefully what's being made available to the president, perhaps in forms that can't be made public. That's the question, the set of questions I would be asking as president.
And, on the public side, we're going to have to see more information come in.