Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran in a speech in New York on Tuesday.
Biden said that Trump “should stop tweeting” and “rejoin the Iran deal and build on it.”
The former vice president said that Trump’s successful airstrike against Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, the former leader of the terrorist Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was “dangerously incompetent” because it did not involve consultations with allies, did not involve notifying Congress, and did not include a press conference. “We have not heard a sober-minded explanation” from Trump, Biden complained.
He called the attack on Soleimani a “strategic setback,” noting that Soleimani was not “the whole of the regime.” He also claimed that Trump had caused the present “crisis” by leaving the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.
Biden also claimed that there was no “tit-for-tat provocation and response” with Iran under the Iran deal, apparently overlooking the 2016 incident in which Iran took U.S. Navy sailors prisoner, and the U.S. quickly capitulated.
The former vice president claimed that Trump had given the U.S. a “limited slate of options” for dealing with Iran, apparently ignoring criticism that the Iran deal destroyed American leverage by removing sanctions and giving Iran access to billions in cash in return for allowing it to build nuclear weapons when the deal reached its expiration date.
In addition, Biden said it would be regrettable if the U.S. left Iraq, ignoring the fact that the Obama administration quickly withdrew U.S. troops in 2011 when he failed to obtain the Iraqi government’s agreement to terms.
Biden also claimed that Trump was responsible for the Iranian regime leading chants of “death to America.” He said that the only solution to the confrontation with Iran was diplomacy, not further military action. He said he hoped that Trump was sending “private” messages of “deterrence and de-escalation” to the Iranian leadership.
Biden also urged the president to obtain congressional authorization for any military action against Iran. “You cannot pursue the war in Iran without consent and accountability from Congress,” Biden said. In 2011, Biden and President Barack Obama pursued war against Libya without congressional authorization, later arguing that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 did not apply because U.S. troops were not directly engaged in “hostilities” but “leading from behind.”
Biden said that merely tweeting about the start of hostilities did not satisfy the statutory requirement to notify Congress about military actions, which he said “cannot be satisfied in 280 characters or less.” He said that the president had no strategy and was behaving impulsively rather than carefully in dealing with the Iranian regime.
“We need action, Mr. President. You have to explain what you’re doing,” Biden concluded.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.