Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) attacked President Donald Trump as a “lawless president” after he ordered an airstrike that took out Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, a designated terrorist organization.
Soleimani was killed Thursday night in a drone strike ordered by President Trump at the Baghdad International Airport.
The U.S. State Department announced in April 2019 that Iran was responsible for the deaths of 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War, and Soleimani was the head of the Iranian-backed forces conducting those operations. The State Department said Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of 17 percent of all U.S. troops killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, Fox News reports.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” President Trump said Friday afternoon. “We take comfort in knowing his reign of terror is over.”
The president said Soleimani was in the process of “plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and personnel.”
Democrats quickly began describing President Trump’s actions as an “assassination” that will increase tensions between Washington and Tehran. They also complained that the president acted without congressional approval.
“We cannot stay silent as this lawless president recklessly moves us closer to yet another unnecessary war that puts innocent lives at risk at home and across the globe,” Congresswoman Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “Congress alone has the authority to declare war, and we must reclaim our responsibility and say no to war with Iran.”
We cannot stay silent as this lawless President recklessly moves us closer to yet another unnecessary war that puts innocent lives at risk at home & across the globe. Congress alone has the authority to declare war, & we must reclaim our responsibility & say no to war with Iran.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 3, 2020
Sen. Debbie Stabenow said “a single action without a meaningful plan will lead to more risk for Americans at home and abroad.”
“The administration is required to provide a clear rationale to Congress for its action. They also must consult with congressional leaders on a meaningful strategy to protect Americans lives and interests around the world,” she said.
My statement on last night’s airstrike in Iraq: pic.twitter.com/njfaddXrj6
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) January 3, 2020
Sen. Gary Peters, who is up for reelection in 2020 and facing a competitive Republican opponent, said “tonight’s strike took a notorious terrorist off of the battlefield.”
“What comes next is critical for the region and the world. I am focused on ensuring that there is a strategy to protect our citizens, service members, and diplomats, and that advances our national security,” said Peters.
Tonight’s strike took a notorious terrorist off of the battlefield. What comes next is critical for the region and the world. I am focused on ensuring that there is a strategy to protect our citizens, servicemembers, and diplomats, and that advances our national security.
— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) January 3, 2020
Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-09) called on Congress to pass his Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Clarification Act to “make clear that before the president takes any military action against Iran, he must get authorization from Congress.”
There is no question that Qasem Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. I feel no sadness at the news of his death. But I have serious concerns about this President’s execution of a potential act of war without authorization of Congress. https://t.co/B2ZLYikIzh
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) January 3, 2020
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), a former CIA analyst, released a lengthy statement Friday morning, saying “this administration, like all others, has the right to act in self-defense,” but must “come to Congress immediately and consult.”
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) called Soleimani “an evil man,” but said she “deeply” fears the “consequences of this action, which was made without consulting Congress, or our allies and partners in the region.”
Several other Michigan lawmakers chimed in on the news throughout the day Friday:
There’s a reason our Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war: Every American may be intimately affected by a violent conflict. Soleimani was evil. But our system demands consent for war from the people, acting through their representatives and senators in Congress.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 3, 2020
For some time now, Iran has been poking the bear and had to expect that there would be a consequence.
Qassem Soleimani was the ring leader responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. military officials and was likely planning more…
— Fred Upton (@RepFredUpton) January 3, 2020
For years Iran has killed American troops and conducted terror operations throughout the Middle East and beyond. The actions taken by the Administration demonstrate that the United States will hold Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, accountable.
— Rep. Bill Huizenga (@RepHuizenga) January 3, 2020
Soleimani was responsible for killing and terrorizing American soldiers, diplomats, and civilians, in addition to allies in the region, for many years. According to Pentagon reports, he was continuing to orchestrate and plan attacks on U.S. diplomats & officials overseas.
— Rep. Haley Stevens (@RepHaleyStevens) January 3, 2020
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rashida Tlaib” by Rashida Tlaib. Backgrounnd Photo “Gen. Qasem Soleimani” by Tasnim News Agency. CC BY 4.0.