While President Donald Trump’s remarks to the nation appear to have satisfied members of his own party, Democrats say they still have questions about the U.S. authorized killing of an Iranian general.
Members of Congress attended briefings Wednesday on Iran’s rocket attacks in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that led to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. The lawmakers’ response fell along party lines.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson said he was glad to hear that there were no American casualties in Tuesday night’s attacks on two installations in Iraq. But he said he still had questions about whether Soleimani posed an “imminent threat” and whether his killing left U.S. troops more vulnerable.
“It is still extremely bothersome and concerning to me now that I know more about it,” Johnson said.
Johnson, a Lithonia Democrat, still believes Trump’s decision to authorize Soleimani’s killing was “reckless.”
Meanwhile, Republicans who received the same briefing drew a different conclusion.
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk said the information shared by the secretary of state, secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of the CIA and others convinced him that Trump did the right thing.
“I am confident that the attack on the Iranian terrorist leader General Soleimani was constitutional, justified, and saved countless American lives,” Loudermilk, who lives in Cassville, wrote on Twitter. “In stark contrast to what some of the radical left are claiming, there was specific and actionable intelligence of imminent attacks against the United States by forces led by Soleimani.”
The White House also announced new economic sanctions against Iran, and Trump also said he will invite NATO countries to become more active in the region.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice said Trump had demonstrated “American strength and resolve in the face of Iranian aggression.”
“We will not stand idly by as Iran continues its reign of terror,” Hice, a Republican who lives in Monroe, wrote on Twitter. “Their actions will have consequences. I applaud @POTUS for instituting additional sanctions.”
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall said he agreed with Trump that peace with Iran is possible, but only if the country and its leaders are willing to meet standards of civility. The president is right in describing Iran as a “destructive and destabilizing” force that cannot be allowed to threaten other nations, the Lawrenceville Republican wrote on Twitter.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue struck a similar tone in a social media post.
“I’m hopeful Iran and its proxy forces will heed the President’s warnings and embrace a peaceful path forward with the U.S. and our allies and partners,” wrote Perdue, one of Trump’s closest allies in the Senate.
While Loudermilk said Trump’s plan for the Middle East is paying off, Johnson said he worried that Iranian proxies could be planning further attacks against Americans.
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus backed a war power resolution that would limit Trump’s ability to authorize further attacks in the Middle East.
They said Congress should learn from its mistakes in authorizing a war in Iraq in 2002 based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.
“The world is asking us to act differently this time,” U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said.