NJ representatives express concern in wake of airstrike that killed Iranian general
Some of New Jersey’s representatives in Congress are expressing concern after President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike Thursday that killed a top Iranian general.
More than 3,000 additional American troops are now heading to the Middle East following the airstrike in Iraq that killed General Qassem Soleimani. President Trump says that he ordered the drone strike to stop a war.
“What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved,” the president said. “Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran, where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government. We took action last night to stop a war.”
But Soleimani’s death has led Iran to vow revenge, leaving some members of Congress to wonder if a larger conflict is imminent.
“An escalation that has no approval by the Congress of the United States. And the potential to march to war without the authorization of Congress,” says Sen. Bob Menendez.
Many in Congress have criticized the Trump administration for not briefing key congressional leaders before the strike.
“What was the intelligence that led them to take out Soleimani now? I mean, we've had this chance before - Republican and Democratic administrations have always pondered the question: Is the value of taking out Soleimani greater than the retaliation?” asks Menendez.
No members of Congress are defending Soleimani’s actions, despite the criticism of the airstrike.
"Soleimani has the blood of countless Americans on his hands and he’s responsible for IRGC's extreme violence throughout the region. It's reported he was developing imminent plans to attack Americans and I expect the [Trump] administration to brief Congress on their intelligence and long-term strategy,” says Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson - who is a New Jersey resident - shared his take with News 12 New Jersey.
"Our government tells us there is no specific or credible threat to the homeland in the wake of the Soleimani strike. But there is more to it than that. All Americans, whether home or abroad, and including those of us who live in New Jersey, should continue as we were in our daily lives, but be alert to things suspicious in the current environment,” Johnson said.
Gov. Phil Murphy posted on Twitter encouraging the public to report any suspicious activity in light of the recent events in Iraq.