President Donald Trump stated at the White House on Thursday that Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani was threatening to blow up the American embassy in Baghdad.
“We caught a total monster, and we took him out, and that should have happened a long time ago,” Trump said. “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons.”
The president spoke about the “pinpoint” missile strike that eliminated Soleimani and the congressional criticism of the administration’s intelligence briefing to Congress.
Trump acknowledged that Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul were critical of the briefing, but he said other Republicans were pleased with it.
“Mike and Rand Paul disagreed because they want information that, honestly, I think is very hard to get,” he said. “I get along great with Mike Lee. I’ve never seen him like that.”
But the president downplayed the importance of the briefing, pointing to the results of the mission.
“Forget about presentation — the result,” he said. “We killed a man who killed many, many Americans, that killed many, many people.”
Trump noted that the United States did not start the conflict with Iran, noting that Iran first attacked the American military base, which resulted in several troops wounded and the death of an American contractor.
The president emphasized that Soleimani was a “monster.”
“He was the big roadside bomb guy. … That was his favorite thing. He thought it was wonderful. He doesn’t think it’s wonderful anymore.”
Trump criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for condemning his decision.
“When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want to defend him, I think that’s a very bad thing for this country. I think that’s a big losing argument politically, too,” he said.