Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed on Thursday, Jan. 2, that President Donald Trump’s administration had launched strikes killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, without authorization.
“The administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran,” Pelosi wrote in a statement issued after the Pengaton launched the rockets at the Baghdad International Airport.
“This action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” Pelosi added.
The speaker claimed, “American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions.”
She said the airstrike “risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence,” and that America and the world cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.
Pelosi urged the Trump administration to immediately brief the full Congress on “this serious situation and on the next steps.”
In a televised remark on Friday, Jan. 3, President Trump defended the airstrike, saying, “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.”
“As president, my highest and most solemn duty is the defense of our nation and its citizens,” he said.
President Trump said Soleimani is “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world,” who “was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel.”
“Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies,” he said.