The news of Qasem Soleimani’s death has sharply divided politicians along party lines, with almost uniform praise for US President Donald Trump by Republicans, while Democrats have expressed concerns over the legality and consequences of the strike.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate in this year’s presidential election, said Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox” with the airstrike.
And while Soleimani “deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region,” Biden warned that “we could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also running for president in the Democratic primary, called it a “dangerous escalation” that brings the US “closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”
“Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the US could not “put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” in a statement.
Meanwhile, fierce Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham praised the President’s “bold action against Iranian aggression” in a series of tweets, in which he warned Iran against retaliatory action.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida accused Soleimani’s Quds Force of choosing “the path of escalation” after Trump imposed economic pressure.
“Iran chose to respond to economic pressure with #IRGC sponsored & directed attacks aimed at killing Americans,” Rubio said in a tweet.
“They chose to ignore these warnings because they believed @POTUS was constrained from acting by our domestic political divisions. They badly miscalculated.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, said “General Soleimani is dead because he was an evil bastard who murdered Americans,” in a news release.