Nearly a week after President Donald Trump authorized a surprise U.S. drone strike on Gen. Qassem Soleimani — a top Iranian military commander — he and his administration continue to receive criticism for the strike, including on Wednesday when Rep. Gerry Connolly called his reasoning for the strike “utterly convincing.”
According to The Hill, Connolly joins a growing number of Democrats who have ripped the president for killing Soleimani and pushing the United States and Iran to the brink of war. He, like many of his colleagues, remained unconvinced that killing Soleimani was even justified in the first place.
“Without commenting on content, my reaction to this briefing was it was sophomoric and utterly unconvincing and I believe that more than ever the Congress needs to act to protect that constitutional provisions about war and peace,” Connolly said after a congressional briefing on the reasons why the Trump administration approved the strike.
Doubling down on his harsh retort, Connolly suggested that the Trump administration is only now managing to scrape together any semblance of rationale that would have justified Soleimani’s killing while claiming that it only further escalated tensions in the fragile relationship between the two countries.
“I believe this administration is after the fact trying to piece together a rationale for its action that was impulsive, reckless and put this country’s security at risk,” Connolly said.
Because Connolly believes that Iran didn’t pose the “imminent threat” to the United States that is needed for a president to take such actions, he called for the immediate repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force — the legislation that the administration is leaning on that they say provided the legal clearing to conduct the strike on Soleimani last week.
“The fact that the administration is still citing a 17-year-old AUMF that applied to an entirely different set of circumstances ought to be a cause of concern for all members of Congress,” Connolly said.
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, who just emerged from a briefing on Iran from top Trump administrations officials, called it “sophomoric and utterly unconvincing” adding that he remained “utterly unpersuaded” that the strike on Qasem Soleimani was justified. pic.twitter.com/qToEZjAS39— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) January 8, 2020
The Virginia lawmaker then said that Tuesday night’s missile attack by Iran, which targeted bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops, could be the start of potential deadly retaliatory acts in the future.
There were no reported U.S. casualties in the missile strike, which involved 12 ballistic missiles launched from Iran into Iraq. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Pentagon reportedly had enough advanced warning of the pending missile attack that they were able to move U.S. troops to safety.
The strike that resulted in Soleimani’s death came as retaliation after days prior, an Iranian-backed militia claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed a U.S. contractor.