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

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanDoes Donald Trump even want a second term? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from the protests The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from weekend protests across the US MORE said Friday morning that President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff 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) GaetzGOP lawmakers push amendment to rescind authority for troops in Afghanistan Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' Some in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan 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 MassieGOP lawmakers push amendment to rescind authority for troops in Afghanistan Biggs, Massie call on Trump to remove troops from Afghanistan Massie wins House GOP primary despite Trump call to be ousted from party MORE (Ky.) and Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyBipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to limit further expansion of 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Republicans boot Francis Rooney from GOP Steering Committee Pelosi extends proxy voting into mid-August MORE (Fla.). Eight Democrats voted against it.