Trump slams Democrats for criticism over strike on Iranian general

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE entered into an extended rant against Democrats Thursday for criticizing him over not seeking congressional approval for a strike against top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a campaign rally in Ohio. 

“The radical left Democrats have expressed outrage over the termination of this horrible terrorist. And you know, instead, they should be outraged by Soleimani’s savage crimes and the fact that his countless victims were denied justice,” Trump told a crowd in Toledo, Ohio. “He was the king of the roadside bomb.”

Trump mentioned Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins DC primary Biden wins Montana primary Biden wins New Mexico primary MORE (Vt.) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) in particular, sarcastically calling Pelosi a “real genius.”

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“Here’s a guy who slaughtered and butchered civilians all over, and military – whoever was in his way,” Trump said.

“And we have Bernie and Nancy Pelosi, we have them all, they’re all trying to say, ‘How dare you take him out that way? You should get permission from Congress. You should come in and tell us what you want to do. You should come in and tell us so that we can call up the fake news back there and we can leak it,’” Trump continued.

Trump said the decision to strike Soleimani needed to be made in a “split second,” claiming he didn’t have time to notify Congress of the plans.

“We had to make a decision. We didn’t have time to call up Nancy, who is not operating with a full deck,” Trump said, again digging at Pelosi, who has consistently drawn ire from the president over the House decision to impeach him.

The Democrat-controlled House voted almost nearly along party lines about an hour before the rally on a measure aimed at limiting Trump’s authority to take military action against Iran, after the strike against Soleimani resulted in skepticism on the left about the administration’s move. 

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Trump defended his decision to authorize the drone strike against Soleimani during Thursday’s rally, saying he was “actively planning” attacks that threatened American lives and U.S. embassies.

“As the leader of Iran’s terrorist Quds force, Soleimani spread death, destruction and mayhem across the Middle East and beyond,” Trump said. “He ordered the violent assault on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.”

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

The Trump administration has described last Thursday’s strike as a defensive measure aimed at preventing imminent attacks, though officials have been tightlipped about the intelligence behind those assessments. Democrats in Congress and a few Republicans have criticized classified briefings about the strike as insufficient.

The strike has raised concerns about the stability of the region and the risk of armed conflict between Washington and Tehran. The country responded Tuesday by launching missile attacks on Iraqi bases holding U.S and coalition forces.

The attacks did not result in any casualties, however, and Trump said Wednesday that Iran appeared to be “standing down,” suggesting both sides were backing away from further military escalation.