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 TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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 PompeoSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Washington Post: Pompeo 'gaslighting' NPR reporter Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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 MurphyDemocrats cry foul over Schiff backlash Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Nadler gets under GOP's skin 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 LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial 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."