Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday lauded President Trump’s decision to take out Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, calling him a “terrorist mastermind” responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members.
“No man alive was more directly responsible for the deaths of more American service members than Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani’s schemes and his agents killed hundreds of American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.
“He personally oversaw the state-sponsored terrorism that Iran used to kill our sons and our daughters. And as we’ve seen in recent days and weeks, he and his terrorists posed an ongoing and growing threat to American lives and American interests,” McConnell continued.
The Iranian major general took the call “Death to America” and put it into action, he added.
“But this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the United States and Israel. For more than a decade, he masterminded Iran’s malevolent and destabilizing work throughout the entire Middle East,” he said.
Following the defeat of ISIS, Soleimani turned his attention to meddling in Iraq’s government, sparking protests by the Iraqi people, he said.
“For too long — for too long — this evil man operated without constraint and countless innocents have suffered for it. Now his terrorist leadership has been ended,” he declared.
McConnell acknowledged the partisan debate already unfolding in Congress over the killing.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, for example, slammed Trump’s decision on Twitter.
“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.The question is this. As reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?” Murphy wrote.
But McConnell said he would welcome the debate, when the time is appropriate.
“Although I anticipate and welcome a debate about America’s interest in foreign policy in the Middle East, I recommend that all senators wait to review the facts and hear from the administration before passing much public judgment on this operation and its potential consequences,” he said, adding that the administration was expected to brief Congressional staffers later Friday.