Menendez, other top Democrats call on Trump to explain decision to order Iranian airstrike
Sen. Bob Menendez is among a group of top Democrats who are calling on President Donald Trump and his administration to explain how he made the decision to execute an airstrike that killed a top Iranian general.
The airstrike executed on Jan. 2 killed General Qassem Soleimani. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets Monday to mourn on the day of his funeral. Soleimani’s successor promised to avenge his death.
“Iran is going to respond,” said Menendez.
Menendez is the ranking member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He and other top Democrats say that the president acted without consulting Congress. They are demanding that the Trump administration release the intelligence that led to the drone strike. They say that they want to know if it will be worth the payback that Iran has promised.
“We all agree Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, but that in of itself doesn't justify the administration’s actions,” Menendez says. “I haven't seen anything that indicates the killing of Soleimani has prevented an imminent attack against Americans.”
Trump said that he ordered the strike to prevent a war and to protect Americans. But now thousands of U.S. troops are getting ready to deploy to the Middle East as tensions rise.
Menendez says that he is expecting a full Senate briefing on Wednesday.
“The question is, was this the right decision of the options the president was given? And from what I have seen to date, I'm increasing alarmed it may not have been the right decision,” the senator says.
Menendez says that he is worried that conflict will worsen.
“What I can see us headed to if this continues, is a series of tactics and actions and reactions that can have us stumble into a war,” he says.
Trump says that if Iran tries to retaliate, the United States will strike back. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will introduce and vote on a war powers resolution which would limit the president’s potential future military actions.