- Lawmakers are reacting in strikingly different ways after the Department of Defence on Monday night claimed responsibility for an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to news the strikes, calling the move “extremely dangerous” and a “foolish escalation.”
- US officials began weighing in on the move, and the reactions among Democrats and Republicans were drastically split.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Members of Congress, 2020 candidates, and White House officials are reacting in strikingly different ways after the Department of Defence on Monday night claimed responsibility for an airstrike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.
“The US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
The statement also blamed Iran for attacks on coalition bases in Iraq in recent months and orchestrating the attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to news the strikes, calling the move “extremely dangerous” and a “foolish escalation.”
US officials began weighing in on the move, and reactions among Democrats and Republicans were dramatically split down party lines.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that Iraqis were “dancing in the street for freedom.”
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. pic.twitter.com/huFcae3ap4
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Trump “acted immediately to protect Americans.”
Soleimani was a mass murderer.
He killed many Americans and his own people.
This is not Benghazi.
Obama did nothing about it.@realDonaldTrump acted immediately to protect Americans.
Democrats are also Americans and should support our President.
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) January 3, 2020
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida praised America’s “defensive actions” and placed blame on Iran for the escalation.
They are entirely to blame for bringing about the dangerous moment now before us.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 3, 2020
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said Soleimani got what he “richly deserved.”
Qassem Soleimani masterminded Iran’s reign of terror for decades, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Tonight, he got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice. https://t.co/1wkjtvj2QA
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 3, 2020
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah called Soleimani a “depraved terrorist.”
“We commend our brave troops & intel officers who carried out this successful mission,” he wrote on Twitter.
Qassem Soleimani was a depraved terrorist who had the blood of hundreds of American servicemen and women on his hands, and who was doubtlessly planning operations to further harm our citizens and allies.
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) January 3, 2020
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina thanked Trump “for standing up for America.”
Thank you, Mr. President, for standing up for America.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020
But Democrats responded with shock and heeded warnings of retaliation by Iran.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2020 presidential candidate, slammed Trump’s decision.
“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars,” he said in a statement.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 frontrunner, said that while Soleimani “deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region,” the airstrike was a “hugely escalatory move.”
“The administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attacks by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect,” he said. “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.”
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Another 2020 candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called the airstrike a “reckless move.”
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the airstrike “risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.”
Speaker Pelosi on Soleimani: “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence” + notes the strike tonight was taken without an AUMF or consultation of Congress and also wants a full briefing for Congress immediately pic.twitter.com/sbTGg4NPxA
— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) January 3, 2020
Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said Trump’s actions were bringing us “to the brink of an illegal war with Iran.”
President Trump is bringing our nation to the brink of an illegal war with Iran with no congressional approval.
Passing our bipartisan amendment to prevent unconstitutional war with Iran is urgent. Congress needs to step in immediately. https://t.co/tBFRwQMp51
— Archive: Senator Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) January 3, 2020
And Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the move may have grave consequences.
The justification for the assasination is to “deter future Iranian attacks”.
One reason we don’t generally assasinate foreign political officials is the belief that such action will get more, not less, Americans killed.
That should be our real, pressing and grave worry tonight.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 3, 2020
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