NY Times's Haberman: Trump 'surprised' Iranian strike wasn't 'more of a unifying event'

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Task force pushed Trump to extend coronavirus guidelines New York Times defends reporter after Trump swipe: Her 'reporting has stood the test of time' Sacrificing American lives on the altar of the Dow Jones MORE said Friday morning that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE "actually was surprised" his decision to take out Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani wasn't "a unifying event for the country.” 

Appearing on CNN, Haberman was asked by anchor John Berman if Trump was surprised that the House voted Thursday to limit his ability to go to war with Iran.

“He actually was surprised this was not more of a unifying event for the country, which is what he expected it was going to be," Haberman responded. "Something more along the lines of what you saw around the Iraq War lead-up." 


"However, that lead-up came after a massive attack on U.S. soil," she continued. "It’s not remotely the same. It’s not as if Gen. Soleimani’s name rolls off of most voters’ tongues very easily." 

"Look, he’s not separating this from impeachment politics. This has roiled impeachment politics. He recognizes this is all related," Haberman added. "I think that he’s aware there’s questions about how legally binding this is, even if it goes to the Senate and it passes. But he does not want it highlighted that he is taking an act that could be seen as continuing these forever wars." 

Haberman underscored a speech by Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) Gaetz2020 on my mind: Democrats have to think like Mitch McConnell Harris knocks Gaetz for taking issue with money for Howard in relief package Critics hit Florida governor over lack of 'sweeping' coronavirus response MORE (R-Fla.), usually a staunch Trump supporter, that explained his decision to join House Democrats on the resolution restricting the president's war powers. 

"That speech from Matt Gaetz, the Republican who supports the president, on the floor yesterday was very, very important," Haberman said. "This is a president who ran against the Iraq War, ran as somebody who was going to get us out of the Middle East, who opposed George W. Bush’s use of intelligence [to justify a war]. And those are some of the same questions being raised about his administration right now.”

“Interesting. So that speech hit him where it hurts," Berman concluded. 

The resolution passed in a 224-194 vote Thursday evening, with only three Republicans supporting it: Gaetz and Reps. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina emerges as key battleground for Senate control The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast GOP challenger seizes on outrage against Massie MORE (Ky.) and Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyLessons from the front line — Florida's fight with sea level rise Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' MORE (Fla.). Eight Democrats voted against it.