Lawmakers react in strikingly different ways after the killing of Iran's top general in airstrike
- Lawmakers are reacting in strikingly different ways after the Department of Defense on Monday night claimed responsibility for an airstrike that killed Iranian top general 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.
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Members of Congress, 2020 candidates, and White House officials are reacting in strikingly different ways after the Department of Defense on Monday night claimed responsibility for an airstrike which 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 for 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."
Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Trump "acted immediately to protect Americans."
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican, praised America's "defensive actions" and placed blame on Iran for the escalation.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican, said Soleimani got what he "richly deserved."
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a Republican, called Soleimani a "depraved terrorist."
"We commend our brave troops & intel officers who carried out this successful mission," he wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, thanked Trump "for standing up to America."
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," he called the airstrike 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."
Another 2020 candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called the airstrikes a "reckless move."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said airstrikes "risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence."
Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, a Democrat, said Trump's actions are bringing us "to the brink of an illegal war with Iran."
And Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a Democrat, said the move may have grave consequences.