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Monday, 25 January 2021

Trump defends Soleimani killing at Ohio rally

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Trump defends Soleimani killing at Ohio rally
Trump defends Soleimani killing at Ohio rally

At his first re-election campaign of the new year, President Donald Trump made the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani a major theme.

At the campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday (January 9), Trump spent a lengthy part of his stump speech defending his order to kill Soleimani.

He also rejected criticism from Democrats who say he overstepped his authority with the U.S. military's drone strike against the commander of Iran's military Quds force at Baghdad's airport a week ago.

"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad, but we stopped him and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold," Trump said.

"He was a bad guy.

He was a blood-thirsty terror, and he's no longer a terror, he's dead.

And yet now I see the radical-left Democrats have expressed outrage over the termination of this horrible terrorist." Trump's Democratic rivals have criticized his handling of the crisis.

But the president said he had to make a "split-section" decision and Democratic leaders would have dragged out the process and leaked to the U.S. news media if he had given them a heads-up before the operation.

"We didn't have time to call up Nancy, who is not operating with a full deck," he said, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Soleimani's death prompted an Iranian retaliatory missile strike on Tuesday (January 7) night against two U.S. bases in Iraq.

Trump said he had been ready to launch retaliatory strikes until he was told that no American casualties had resulted.

He said, "They hit us with 16 missiles and I said: 'How many?'

We were ready to go.

We were ready to go.

I said, 'How many?'

How many died?

How many were wounded?

'Sir, none'." The tit-for-tat actions followed months of tension that has increased since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran's nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Tehran's vital oil exports.

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