Fox News contributor and former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen pushed back against Democrats’ criticism that President Trump’s decision to order the airstrike killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani would trigger a cycle of escalation in the Middle East, saying he “won his standoff with Iran.”
“Democrats warned that President Trump’s decision to take out Iranian terrorist mastermind Qassem Soleimani had put the United States on the path toward a cataclysmic war with Iran,” Thiessen wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Friday, Jan. 10. “They were dead wrong. Trump won his standoff with Iran.”
Thiessen noted that President Trump has drawn a red line for Iran—A regime that regularly threatens “Death to America” and promises to eliminate Israel—warning of U.S. military response if Tehran dares to kill even one American.
“His decision to kill Soleimani clearly stunned [Iran’s Supreme Leader]Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and left his regime chastened,” Thiessen said.
President Trump ordered a U.S. airstrike targeting Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Forces days after Iranian-backed militia supporters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
The president declared Wednesday that Iran “appears to be standing down” following its retaliation that fired ballistic missiles on U.S. bases in Iraq resulting in “no casualties.”
Democrats across the capital are united in their criticism of President Trump’s decision, charging he acted recklessly, without regard for possible consequences. The House on Thursday voted to limit President Trump’s war-making powers against Iran.
Thiessen argued that Iranian attacks “deliberately did not target American troops,” though Tehran could have hit larger, more populated targets with its capacity.
“All the overwrought warnings of a U.S.-Iran conflagration were wrong. Trump understood what his critics did not—that the Iranian regime’s No. 1 priority is the preservation of the regime,” Thiessen said.
“Before the Soleimani strike, Iran doubted Trump’s resolve. After the Soleimani strike, they knew Trump was serious when the president warned that next time “Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.” Trump has treated Iran for what it is—a bully. When confronted, bullies back down,” he added.
Thiessen stressed that the president’s action, unlike what Democrats deem would provoke war, might have prevented one instead.
“Iran had been escalating for months—striking allied oil tankers, U.S. drones, and Saudi oil facilities,” he said. “Had Trump allowed Iran to get away crossing his red line and killing an American, they would have been further emboldened. Instead, by taking out Soleimani, Trump put the regime on its heels.”