White House spokesman roasted over Obama tweet

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley came under fire from Democrats on Friday after tweeting that critics of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Anderson Cooper: Trump's Bubba Wallace tweet was 'racist, just plain and simple' Beats by Dre announces deal with Bubba Wallace, defends him after Trump remarks Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding MORE didn't raise concerns about "imminent attacks" when former President Obama ordered military operations against senior al Qaeda leaders.

Trump has come under scrutiny for his justification of last week's drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: QAnon scores wins, creating GOP problem | Supreme Court upholds regulation banning robocalls to cellphones | Foreign hackers take aim at homebound Americans | Uber acquires Postmates Senate Democrats urge Pompeo to ensure Americans living overseas can vote in November Trump administration praises UK sanctions on human rights abusers MORE on Friday said intelligence suggested that Soleimani had been plotting a “large-scale” attack that threatened U.S. embassies, but he acknowledged that the administration did not know when or where the attack would occur, prompting more criticism about whether it was imminent.

Gidley later tweeted that Democrats were not interested in debating imminent attacks during the Obama administration.


“Soleimani was, in fact, planning ‘imminent attacks,’” he tweeted. “While Democrats and the media quibble over its definition, quick point: When Obama killed bin Laden, al-Awlaki and Gaddafi, without Congressional approval, there were NO ‘imminent attacks’ and Democrats did not ask or care.”

Several Democratic lawmakers and Obama's national security spokesman quickly responded to Gidley's tweet by pointing out that a 2001 congressional authorization legislation allowed the U.S. military to target senior al Qaeda leaders such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden.

“Whether you support those actions or not, Congress did authorize, in 2001, the use of military force against al-Qaeda,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).  “Saying they did not is a lie.”


They also pointed out that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed by Libyan protesters, not by Obama, during the Arab Spring in 2011.

“Like, just do a google search, man,” tweeted Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyConnecticut senators call for Subway to ban open carry of firearms Democrats optimistic about chances of winning Senate Gridlock mires chances of police reform deal MORE (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Soleimani is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and their allies in the Middle East, but many lawmakers emerged from classified briefings this week saying senior administration officials did not adequately make the case that he was an imminent threat. That criticism came mostly from Democrats but also from a handful of Senate Republicans, such as Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases Senate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Rand Paul's exchange with Fauci was exactly what America needed GOP Arizona lawmaker says Fauci and Birx 'undermine' Trump's coronavirus response MORE (Ky.).

Gidley later sought to debate his critics. He also claimed that he meant the Obama administration had taken credit for Gaddafi's death.

"Emails (the ones Hillary didn’t delete) showed her advisers urged her to own it," Gidley tweeted. "Obama’s authorization of a bombing campaign and his Administration’s assistance in the overthrow of the Libyan government led to Gaddafi’s death...everyone knows this. We all saw how he died."