House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday defended her opposition to the elimination of Iran’s top general and terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani by likening the action to a hypothetical assassination of the vice president of the United States.
The speaker expressed outrage upon the death of Soleimani, describing the Trump administration’s actions as “provocative and disproportionate.”
“This action endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran,” she asserted.
She doubled down on those sentiments during a press conference on Thursday, likening the elimination of the terrorist, who was responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans and injuries of thousands more, to an assassination of the vice president of the United States.
“The argument would be made that, putting the shoe on the other foot, if the United States had a high level — maybe the second most important person in the country — assassinated wherever, the United States might consider that an assault on our country,” she stated.
Here's @SpeakerPelosi rationalizing her opposition to killing a terrorist who funded attacks on Americans around the world by comparing him to the Vice President of the United States.
— NRCC (@NRCC) January 9, 2020
The comparison fell flat with many on social media, prompting some to remind the speaker of Soleimani’s role as a director of terrorist proxies abroad.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement confirming his death. The Pentagon also noted the commander’s role in orchestrating attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, as well as his approval of last month’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon continued. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
Pelosi is not the only Democrat who has referred to Soleimani’s elimination as an assassination. Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on Wednesday accused Trump of “recklessly” assassinating Soleimani and argued that there was no evidence of an “imminent threat” to justify the administration’s actions.
“President Trump recklessly assassinated Qasem Soleimani,” she stated.
“He had no evidence of an imminent threat or attack, and we say that coming from a classified briefing where again, there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat,” she added:
Dem. Rep. Pramila Jayapal says "Pres. Trump recklessly assassinated Qassem Soleimani," adding "there was no raw evidence presented that there was an imminent threat" in classified congressional briefing. https://t.co/TaLfIwGQYH pic.twitter.com/szN7l0TfhO
— ABC News (@ABC) January 8, 2020
Pelosi quickly blamed Trump for the Iran missile attacks on Tuesday, again citing “needless provocations from the Administration”:
Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020
The House is expected to vote on a War Powers Resolution on Thursday aimed to limit Trump’s ability to respond to Iran’s threats with force. However, it is structured as a “concurrent resolution” which does “not have the force of law,” essentially making the Democrats’ move nothing more than a partisan “show vote.”
“House Democrats would rather take a show vote for their socialist base than stand against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” Mark Bedner, a spokesman for House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), said.