Trump claims Pelosi would have leaked details of Iran raid to media: 'She's not playing with a full deck'

President’s first rally of 2020 also targets Bernie Sanders

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 09 January 2020 21:12 GMT
Donald Trump claims Nancy Pelosi would have leaked details of Iran raid to media

Donald Trump has launched a blistering attack on Nancy Pelosi, claiming without evidence she and other Democrats would have leaked secret details of operation to kill Qassem Soleimani to the media.

Hours after the House of Representatives passed a resolution seeking to limit the president’s ability to launch further military operations against Tehran, Mr Trump mocked the speaker at a rally in Ohio.

Referring to last Friday’s targetted killing of Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mr Trump claimed the “radical left Democrats have expressed outrage over the termination of this horrible terrorist”, who was the “king of roadside bombs”.

“Here’s a guy who slaughtered and butchered civilians all over,” said Mr Trump.

“And we have Bernie and Nancy Pelosi…all trying to say, ‘How dare you take him out that way? You should get permission from Congress. You should come in and tell us what you want to do. You should come in and tell us so that we can call up the fake news back there and we can leak it’.”

Mr Trump claimed he and his top advisers needed to make a rapid call on whether or not to kill the 62-year-old, a move that Mr Trump’s predecessors Barack Obama and George W Bush both considered but decided would be too inflammatory for the region.

He added: “We had to make a decision. We didn’t have time to call up Nancy, who is not operating with a full deck.”

He also used the event to issue a warning to those considering attacking the US.

“We seek friends, not enemies. But if you dare threaten our citizens, you do so at your own grave peril.”

Mr Trump’s rally, both the first in 2020 and the first since taking the decision to kill Soleimani, was held at the Huntington Centre, in Toledo, Ohio.

Video purports to show moment Ukrainian airliner is hit by missile over Iran

The midwestern state, once considered a political bell-weather for the nation, has in recent years become increasingly Republican, and Mr Trump beat Hillary Clinton 52 – 44 there in 2016.

He did so, despite Barack Obama taking it in both 2012 and 2008, and Mr Trump will need to hold such states if he is going to have a genuine shot at reelection in November.

USA Today said two other rallies planned for later this month were scheduled for the battleground state of Wisconsin, which he narrowly won in 2016, and New Jersey, which he would love to win in 2020. The state, which Ms Clinton breezed 55 – 41 in 2016, has 14 electoral college votes.

The rally, during which Mr Trump also attacked other Democratic Party progressives including Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez, came as controversy continued to rage over whether Soleimani genuinely represented a threat to the US.

In addition to doubts raised about the timing of the killing of the Iran leader by many Democrats, at least two Republican legislators have questioned the information they were given.

“It was probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate,” said Republican Mike Mike Lee, of Utah. “I find this insulting and demeaning.” “They had to leave after 75 minutes while they’re in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane.”

Before Democrats, along with three Republicans, passed a measure in the House to press Mr Trump to seek Congressional approval before launching further attacks on Iran, Ms Pelosi told reporters nothing she had seen made her think America was safer now Soleimani was dead.

She said the way the administration had treated Congress was “disdainful”.

“Last week, in our view, the president — the Administration conducted a provocative, disproportionate airstrike against Iran, which endangered Americans. And did so without consulting Congress.”

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