President Donald Trump said he’d been briefed on Navy pilots reporting increased sightings of unidentified flying objects, adding that he doesn’t particularly believe in UFOs.
Speaking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview segment released Saturday, Trump raised his eyebrows and grinned incredulously when asked what he made of the reports.
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“I want them to think whatever they think,” Trump said of the Navy pilots. “I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”
The Navy recently drafted new guidelines for how to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” in response to reports of sophisticated vessels intruding on Navy strike groups, POLITICO reported in April. Pilots reported seeing objects flying at 30,000 feet with no exhaust plumes and at supersonic speeds, according to The New York Times.
The Pentagon quietly set up a program to research UFOs more than 10 years ago at the direction of Congress. The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was largely pushed by former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and operated with extremely limited public exposure, though it was not a classified program.
Trump did not seem as eager to act on the reports, telling Stephanopoulos that “we’re going to see.”
When asked if Trump would know of any extraterrestrial life, he demurred and said: “I think our great pilots would know. And some of them see things a little bit different from the past. … We’re watching, and you’ll be the first to know.”