WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that President Donald Trump has “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox” with the targeted killing of Iran’s top general in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.
The former vice president joined other Democratic White House hopefuls in criticizing Trump’s order, saying it could leave the U.S. “on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.”
The Pentagon said the U.S. military killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in Baghdad Friday at the direction of Trump. The attack is expected to draw severe Iranian retaliation against Israel and American interests. The Defense Department said Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction?
Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will. https://t.co/Fj9TMossEW
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2020
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released a statement saying, “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”
Democrats acknowledged the threat posed by Soleimani, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren calling him “a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans.”
However, she added, Trump’s “reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict.”
Tulsi Gabbard slams Soleimani airstrike, says Trump has violated Constitution by declaring act of war against Iran
Soleimani was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him.
But Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran.
All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk. https://t.co/Z4HTnScFg7
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 3, 2020
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
Trump’s apparent assassination of Soleimani is a massive, deliberate, and dangerous escalation of conflict with Iran. The President just put the lives of every person in the region – U.S. service members and civilians – at immediate risk.
We need de-escalation now. https://t.co/oAenBUsvFl
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 3, 2020
.@SenBlumenthal tells me that if the reports are accurate, the Trump admin must “come to Congress immediately and fully explain to Congress and the American people what’s going on” and work through Congress on next steps. In meantime, “it may be a sleepless night.” https://t.co/uh6G3c688A
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 3, 2020
Trump may have just started a war with no congressional debate. I really hope the worst case scenario doesn’t happen but everything about this situation suggests serious escalation to come.
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) January 3, 2020
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang tweeted: “War with Iran is the last thing we need and is not the will of the American people. We should be acting to deescalate tensions and protect our people in the region.”
The attack also drew criticism from Democrats who aren’t running for president. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the administration conducted the airstrike without consultation of Congress or an authorization for use of military force against Iran. She said it “risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.”
But Republicans on Capitol Hill stood behind Trump. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said: “I appreciate President Trump’s bold action against Iranian aggression. To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more.”
And Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: “America does not and should not seek war, but it will respond in kind to those who threaten our citizens, soldiers and friends — as the President has long promised. De-escalation is preferable and possible — but only if our adversaries choose it.”
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