President Trump spoke briefly on Friday afternoon about Thursday night’s drone strike which killed IRGC General Qasem Soleimani.
Here are the highlights:
Soleimani was planning imminent and sinister attacks against our military and diplomatic personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.
Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American. We will find you. We will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans and our allies.
The ruthless Quds Force, under Soleimani’s leadership, has targeted, injured and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen.
Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion. We take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.
Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the past 20 years. What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.
Recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protestors in Iran where more than a thousand innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government…
We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.
He appeared confident, resolute and presidential. He spoke for about four minutes and left the podium without taking questions.
Senior State Department officials told Fox News it had been a “defensive strike supported by solid intelligence, claiming Soleimani was planning imminent attacks against United States interests and personnel in the region.” They added that “the attacks were being planned in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, targeting US diplomats, military personnel and facilities that house Americans. They claimed hundreds of Americans could have been killed.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made similar remarks earlier today and was equally vague.
It makes sense. Soleimani was in Iraq for a reason. It clearly wasn’t a social visit. Although no one knows for sure, there are several theories and none of them are good. We know that over the last few months, Soleimani had been coordinating attacks on coalition bases in the area, including the one last week which killed an American contractor. He was obviously there to plan something.
One theory is that Soleimani was unhappy with current Iraqi President Barham Salih’s refusal to name Iran’s hand-picked candidate, Asaad al-Eidani, as the country’s next prime minister, and had traveled to the country to lead a coup to take over the government. The Associated Press reported that “Al-Eidani’s name was proposed by the Fatah bloc, which includes leaders associated with the Iran-supported paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces. His nomination was promptly rejected by Iraqi protesters who poured into the streets demanding an independent candidate.”
Whatever his reason for the trip may have been, he was a terrorist, who spent his time fomenting terrorism. And I think it’s very safe to assume he was planning something nefarious.
Question for Democrats: What if President Trump were given this intelligence, decided not to strike, and Americans were killed because Soleimani was able to carry out his intended attack? Would the same Democrats who are criticizing him today be criticizing him for his weakness?
Watch the full address.