Republicans spread lie that Democrats 'mourn' Iranian general

One of President Trump’s most vocal defenders in the House, Georgia Republican Doug Collins, pushed the envelope of political commentary by saying Wednesday that Democrats “mourn” the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed a week ago by an American airstrike in Iraq.

Collins, appearing on the Fox Business channel, was discussing an upcoming vote on a resolution that would limit the president’s ability to unilaterally order military action.

“Nancy Pelosi does it again and Democrats fall right in line,” Collins told Lou Dobbs in an interview. “They’re in love with terrorists. We see that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families.”

A number of Democratic officeholders criticized in varying degrees President Trump’s authorization of the strike but none defended Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force. A tweet supposedly sent by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. (“Americans have spent decades raping and pillaging my people. What goes around comes around”), that circulated on the internet was a hoax.

As a candidate, Trump himself attacked a Gold Star family that dared to criticize him at the 2016 Democratic convention.

Collins’s comments came after the House speaker announced that the chamber would hold a vote on the War Powers Act on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Pelosi was “defending Soleimani.”

At the White House Thursday, President Trump echoed those assertions.

Related: The killing of Qassem Soleimani

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The killing of Qassem Soleimani
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The killing of Qassem Soleimani
This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
IRAQ shaded relief map highlighted with BAGHDAD blast locator, with AIRPORT ATTACK lettering, finished graphic
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani stands at the frontline during offensive operations against Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba in Salahuddin province March 8, 2015. Picture taken March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT POLITICS PROFILE HEADSHOT)
Protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's airport that killed Tehran's top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's airport that killed Tehran's top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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“When I see Nancy Pelosi trying to defend this monster,” Trump told reporters, “when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want to defend him, that's a bad thing for this country, and a bad thing politically.”

Meanwhile, Democrats roundly denounced Collins’s remarks.

“Disgusting,” tweeted Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia during President Barack Obama’s second term. “As U.S. ambassador to Russia, I became accustomed to addressing disinformation Putin propagated about Americans. I never expected that elected Members of Congress would engage in the same, making grotesque false statements about fellow Americans. Stop this nonsense.”

“Last night @RepDougCollins claimed that Democrats ‘love terrorists’ because we oppose war with Iran,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., tweeted. “This kind of lie has been told through history by people who couldn’t justify killings or convince people to go to war. What an absolute disgrace.”

“I happen to be a Democrat and I prosecuted terrorists for living,” tweeted Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. “Sent many to prison for life. I don’t know what Doug Collins has ever done [for] America except preen and sound stupid.”

“Who is running against this craven un-American ignorant ***hole named Doug Collins?” Bharara added. “I will max out to you tomorrow. I hope you all join me.”

Devin Pandy, a retired U.S. Army officer and Democrat who is running against Collins, stepped up with his own denunciation.

“Let me make this absolutely clear! NO ONE is mourning the death of Soleimani!” Pandy tweeted. “This is yet another lie of Doug Collins and the GOP to mislead the American people. Soleimani was a horrible human being who committed unspeakable atrocities.”

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