Donald Trump camp uses Soleimani airstrike card as poll plank, calls Democrats Iran sympathizers

Even as experts questioned the president's move to eliminate the top Iranian general, Trump and his loyalists counter-attacked the domestic rivals to make national security a crucial poll issue.


                            Donald Trump camp uses Soleimani airstrike card as poll plank, calls Democrats Iran sympathizers
Qassem Soleimani and Donald Trump (AP/Getty)

President Donald Trump has often claimed in the past that he is the man to correct decades-old 'errors' in America’s foreign policy by ending its endless wars abroad. But as he entered the final year of his first term in office, the maverick Republican took an aggressive military step and it was ordering the assassination of Iran’s top military leader Qassem Soleimani. And Trump has now linked the controversial foreign policy move with the election-bound domestic politics by attacking the Democrats. 

As the mercury shoots up in the world fraternity over the assassination that could set the entire Middle East on fire in no time, Trump and his conservative allies have made themselves busy in projecting the Dems as Iran sympathizers on the decision to kill Soleimani. They have played the national security card to portray the political opponents as weaker. 

Trump's camp, allies back Iran action

“The president took out the world’s most threatening terrorist and the Democrats are trying to take out the president. He wins!” Politico quoted Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, as saying. “The alarmists and apologists show skepticism about our own intelligence and sympathy for Soleimani.”

Trump’s supporters kept the media busy with this narrative. Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Fox News that only the Democratic leadership and the party’s presidential candidates were mourning the death of the slain Iranian general. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told the same channel that Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had designated Soleimani as a terrorist but did nothing.

Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, said only the Democratic leadership and the party’s presidential candidates were mourning the death of the slain Iranian general. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel asked how many more Americans needed to be dead before the Dems found justification in Trump’s actions. “It’s just frightening, and to hear Nancy Pelosi say the president’s response was disproportionate. Well, I’d like to ask Nancy Pelosi, how many more American lives need to be shed before there is a proportionate response?” she said, adding that Trump made the right move in “protecting the men and women of this country.”

The Politico report cited another top aide to Trump who said the strike against Iran put Joe Biden, one of his main rivals, “in a bind”. Jason Miller, a senior communications adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign, said when Trump talks about America’s foreign policy failure vis-a-vis Iran over the years, it also reflects on Biden who has been in the establishment for many decades now. 

“Ours was an attack based on what they did. We weren’t the first one out. He killed an American,” the president said in the Oval Office on Tuesday, January 7, about the airstrike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad last week. “He was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster. He’s dead.“

“I don’t hear too many people other than politicians who are trying to win the presidency. Those are the ones that are complaining, but I don’t hear anybody else complaining,” Trump added.

The Democrats have taken on Trump over his Iran gamble saying his action was rash and did not take into consideration the consequences of escalating things with Iran. They also accused him of not consulting the congressional leaders.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the president’s decision-making has been erratic. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chuck Schumer says he is worried about aftereffects of Soleimani killing

“I’ve grown increasingly concerned about the strike against Soleimani and what it might mean for the safety of American troops in the region and the future of America’s involvement in the Middle East,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “The president’s decision-making has been erratic. It’s been impulsive without regard for the long-term consequences of America’s actions abroad. He prefers reality-show diplomacy and photo-ops with foreign leaders to substantive progress. As a result, the president’s foreign policy has been dangerously incompetent. When you look at nearly every hot spot around the globe, he’s made the situation worse, not better.”

Biden also lashed out at Trump over Iran on Tuesday saying he only offered “tweets, threats and tantrums” and “shifting explanations” and not “levelheaded words meant to dial down tensions” with Tehran.

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