Virginia’s US legislators, presidential candidates react to US airstrike that killed top Iranian general


WASHINGTON (WAVY) — Virginia’s top elected officials in Washington and candidates for president are responding after a deadly airstrike ordered by President Trump killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed early Friday at Baghdad’s international airport, raising already heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Here are the responses so far:

U.S. legislators from Virginia

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)

“As I have warned for years, Trump’s decision to tear up a diplomatic deal that was working and resume escalating aggressions with Iran has brought us to the brink of another war in the Middle East. Qassim Suleimani was a despicable killer, but this drastic escalation of hostilities — waging a military attack on Iraqi soil over the objections of that country and without congressional authorization — will increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families in the region. Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has made the region less stable, divided us from key allies, and is driving our adversaries together. Congress must act to stop President Trump from entangling America in yet another unnecessary war in the Middle East.”

Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

“Qassem Soleimani was an enemy of the United States who was responsible for violence across the Middle East and the deaths of thousands of people, including hundreds of Americans. He should not be mourned. Presidential administrations of both parties have traditionally consulted with Congress before conducting strategically significant military actions, not only because it is constitutionally appropriate, and not only because doing so provides the opportunity to secure bipartisan congressional support – but also because that process allows for the airing of outside perspectives that might not otherwise be considered, and ensures that tough questions get answered. This is a situation that could easily and quickly escalate even further, and it is not clear that the Trump Administration has a plan to prevent another catastrophic war in the Middle East. We need to be prepared for the long-term potential consequences of this action, which include: counter-attacks on U.S. troops and personnel in the region; substantial harm to the ongoing fight against the remnants of ISIS; and ultimately, the possibility of reduced U.S. influence in the region, further empowering our adversaries to the detriment of U.S. national security and our allies in the Middle East.

Congressman Bobby Scott (D- Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District)

“The airstrike authorized last night by the President that killed a high-level Iranian military official has significantly escalated tensions between the United States and Iran to dangerous levels. I will reserve judgment as to whether or not this was a proportional response until Congress has received a full briefing by the Trump Administration.  However, I remain very concerned when any president takes such serious military action against another nation without first consulting Congress and without an Authorization for Use of Military Force.  It is important that the Administration immediately present to Congress all the information it relied on to justify this airstrike, as well as its strategy as to how it intends to address this situation moving forward.”

Presidential candidates

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

WAVY will update this list as more responses come in from elected officials.

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