(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, SAYING: "The prospects of direct conflict with Iran is greater than it has ever been.” A chorus of Democratic presidential contenders on Friday condemned the air strike that killed prominent Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani... (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING: "This is a dangerous escalation..." ... calling President Donald Trump's decision a reckless move that could lead the United States into another war in the Middle East.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER PETE BUTTIGIEG, SAYING: "Was this decision made carelessly or was it made strategically?" While many of Trump's political rivals acknowledged that Soleimani deserved to be brought to justice, they also questioned whether Trump had a broader strategy, and sought to draw a sharp contrast between his actions and their approach to dealing with foreign adversaries.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, SAYING: "Do Donald Trump and his administration have a strategy for what comes next?
Have they thought through and planned for a wide range of retaliatory and asymmetric actions that we'll almost certainly see from Iran in the near-term." U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has consistently opposed U.S. military intervention overseas - including the war in Iraq - said the consequences of the air strike in Baghdad could be disastrous.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING: "Trump promised to end endless wars.
Tragically, his actions now put us on the path to another war, potentially one that could be even worse than before." Fellow progressive Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren echoed Sanders' concern in a tweet, saying: "We’re on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East - one that would be devastating in terms of lives lost and resources wasted.
We’re not here by accident.
We’re here because a reckless president, his allies, and his administration have spent years pushing us here." Meanwhile, Republicans have praised Trump's decision to kill Soleimani, saying the move was a sign Trump was restoring American strength and leadership.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "The architect and chief engineer for the world's most active state-sponsor of terrorism has been removed." The Senate's democratic leader said it was another troubling indication of Trump’s erratic approach to foreign policy.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "This action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war." Schumer also complained that Trump acted without informing Congress first.
Trump responded by retweeting a post from conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, comparing Schumer to the Iranians.