Rep. Ilhan Omar called the White House’s credibility into question Monday after President Trump threatened to retaliate over recent drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil sites.
A member of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, the congresswoman said the Trump administration “cannot be trusted” to be transparent about any future evidence offered for attacking Iran in response to the strikes, which targeted two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia early Saturday and subsequently put a dent in the world’s crude supply.
“Congress has the constitutional right to declare war,” Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, said on CNN. “The president doesn’t have it. The secretary of state doesn’t have it. And Saudi Arabia certainly doesn’t have it.”
“I think we need to make sure that the American people understand that this administration — that lies about weather maps or crowd sizes — cannot be trusted to give us the full information we need to be able to make a decision whether we should be going to war or not with Iran,” Ms. Omar added. “We are not in a position to think about another endless war, and I really hope that my colleagues in Congress are going to pressure this administration to take a step back and figure out how we use diplomacy in de-escalating the situation.”
The congresswoman’s remark came more than two weeks since Mr. Trump ignited controversy by falsely claiming Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian, prompting weather officials to reassure residents they would be spared from the storm. Mr. Trump refused to walk back his comments in the days after, even touting a doctored map of the U.S. to support his assertion, harking back to the first days of his administration when the White House insisted, wrongly, that Mr. Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony had the largest attendance in history.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mr. Trump said Sunday that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” to respond to the drone strikes, which several members of his administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have blamed on Iran. The president has since said that he is in “no rush” to take action, however.
“We have to be very cautious about the way that we move forward, and I think that’s why it’s important for Congress to be able to investigate and take the lead on whether it makes sense for us to engage,” Ms. Omar continued on CNN. “It’s really important for us to remember this is a war — our intelligence is war-tainted towards Iran and, you know, we can’t forget our involvement in Iraq, and how there are people who beat the drums of war and ultimately make us regret a decade or so later.”
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