After Donald Trump ordered the drone strike assassination of top Iranian military leader General Qassem Soleimani on Thursday, a clip from 2016 resurfaced online, showing then-candidate Hillary Clinton warning that as president, Trump would be likely to start a war for no reason other than “somebody got under his very thin skin.” Video of Clinton issuing that warning in June of 2016 may be seen below on this page.
Clinton also warned of Trump’s “thin skin” during her nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, saying that he could not be trusted with the authorization codes to launch a nuclear attack because he is “a man you can bait with a tweet,” as quoted by The New York Times.
She also described Trump during that speech as a “little man” whose main motivations for his actions are fear and pride.
But Clinton’s prediction that Trump might start a war because someone “got under his very thin skin” took on new relevance, and was recirculated by users on Twitter, after a Washington Post report published Friday, recounting several instances in which Soleimani trolled Trump on social media platforms.
The Iranian general was the leader of his country’s elite Quds Force military unit, and according to The Post, “an infamous terrorist organizer and one of the regime’s most powerful officials.”
Soleimani, despite his vast influence within Iran and across the Middle East region, remained a little-known figure in the United States until July 2018, when he began responding to Trump’s Twitter taunts directed toward Iran, according to the Post report.
His trolling began after Trump replied to a tweet by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who warned that war between the United States and Iran would be “the mother of all wars.” For some reason, the Rouhani tweet seemed to enrage Trump.
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Trump responded on his own Twitter account, writing in all capital letters.
Soleimani then clapped back at Trump on Twitter, threatening, “you know that this war will destroy all that you possess,” as quoted by The Post.
But the Iranian military commander was not done trolling Trump, soon taking to his Instagram account to post a digitally altered image showing the White House exploding, with an image of himself superimposed in the foreground, as if giving the order for the attack via radio handset.
After Trump posted an image of himself in the style of a Game of Thrones promotional poster, with the text, “Sanctions Are Coming,” Soleimani responded with a GoT-inspired image of his own, captioned, “I Will Stand Against You.”
Whether the online trolling played a role in Trump’s decision to order Soleimani’s death remains uncertain. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed on Friday that Soleimani was killed to prevent an “imminent” attack against American interests.