Donald Trump’s decision to authorize the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has received pushback from some amid skepticism of the White House’s claim that he was plotting an imminent attack on U.S. interests. During an appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said that Trump’s foreign policy with Iran has sparked worries that the president is “detached from reality.”
While Trump recently claimed Iran was plotting to bomb the U.S. embassy in Iraq, Van Hollen doesn’t appear to believe this explanation, Breitbart reports.
“None of the facts presented at the classified briefing supported that claim. And so now you have the — them saying, they can’t provide this kind of information to senators in a highly classified setting, but the president is going to say that today the country.”
Van Hollen believes that Trump’s recent comment shows that the White House is making things up on the spot. He claims that if Trump’s comments were accurate, the White House would have presented evidence to back Trump’s claim about an imminent attack during the classified briefing for senators.
“And as I say, the evidence is not there to support their claim of an imminent threat,” Van Hollen said, adding that the president’s actions have decreased the region’s safety and increased the prospects of war.
“So a very dangerous moment and to listen to the president give that address just makes me worry even more that he’s more detached from reality.”
Republican Senator Mike Lee says a Trump administration briefing on the Iran situation was “the worst briefing I've seen in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate”. pic.twitter.com/Ty1bPbGVrI— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 9, 2020
The lack of information presented in the briefing was enough to push Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul to change their minds and support a Democrat-sponsored war powers resolution. The resolution would require Trump to cease all military action against Iran and obtain congressional approval before any forthcoming action.
Lee appeared to be particularly outraged by the briefing. He called it “insulting” and the “worst” he has ever seen, noting that Trump administration officials instructed senators not to publicly debate the reasoning behind the president’s decision to order the assassination of Soleimani.
The briefings were given by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, and CIA Director Gina Haspel. In addition to Paul and Lee, Democrats also reportedly had problems with the briefing and noted the lack of evidence presented about the purported threat Soleimani posed to U.S. interests.
As for the war powers resolution, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that representatives will vote as soon as Thursday.