Donald Trump Was Right To Kill Qassem Soleimani, Says Former Obama Adviser

U.S President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office.
Olivier Douliery - Pool / Getty Images

Donald Trump‘s decision to authorize the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has been controversial. Despite pushback from many in the Democratic party, James L. Jones, a retired Marine Corps general and former national security adviser who served under Barack Obama, believes that the decision was a necessary one, Newsweek reports.

According to Jones, Trump should turn his attention away from critics of his decision.

“I would not listen to the appeasers of the world who kind of want to calm the waves,” he said at an Atlantic Council event on Sunday.

Jones claims that many people want business as usual and he urged Trump against listening to their advice. The retired Marine Corps general believes that “normal business” would pave the way for Iran to continue “spreading terror around the world.”

“Those days I think are over and I hope Iran understands that. As articulated by the president, it’s a potential game changer…I would not let up. I would not let up.”

Jones also touched on his time in the Obama administration and its approach to Soleimani. According to Jones, the administration was not able to focus on international actors such as Soleimani as much as he would have liked, due to the focus on Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed in May 2011, approximately one year following Jones’ departure from the White House.

“I think the Obama administration tried to find the terrorist that was the most wanted guy in the world. Soleimani is now the next guy, so I give [Trump] credit for doing that and I think it was the right thing to do.”

The Trump administration has received a significant amount of criticism for its shifting narrative around the reasoning behind Soleimani’s death. While the administration first claimed that the Iranian general was planning an imminent attack on U.S. interests, Trump later said it “doesn’t really matter” whether or not he was, stating that Soleimani’s past actions were more than enough to justify the killing.

In addition, a recent NBC News report claims that Trump approved Soleimani’s killing last June on one condition — that increased aggression from Iran is linked to a U.S. death. The directive reportedly came as former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed for the assassination then, though the action required the president’s sign-off.

Soleimani — who Trump called the top terrorist worldwide — commanded Iran’s Quds Force and was credited with shaping Tehran’s foreign military strategy for two decades.