Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE said Friday that he would not have ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani if he had been in the White House.
Asked at a Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire whether he would have approved the attack, Biden was direct.
"No, and the reason I wouldn’t have ordered the strike is there isn’t any evidence yet of an imminent strike that was going to come from him," Biden said.
Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was targeted and killed in Iraq last month in a U.S. drone strike authorized by President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE.
The strike sent shockwaves through the Middle East and led to a tit-for-tat between the U.S. and Iran that ended last month after Tehran launched a missile attack on a U.S. base in Iraq. That attack did not kill any Americans, but dozens are said to have suffered brain injuries.
Biden's response to the question of whether he would have authorized the strike on Soleimani was more direct than the answer offered by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron Pressed on 2024, Buttigieg says 'we are squarely focused on the job at hand' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE, who said moments earlier that he would have had to review U.S. intelligence before deciding on the strike.
"It depends on the circumstances," Buttigieg said.