Government

Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst satisfied Trump made right call on Soleimani

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa pause during an October 2016 breakfast event in Cedar Rapids.
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa pause during an October 2016 breakfast event in Cedar Rapids. The two Iowa senators on Wednesday said they supported President Donald Trump’s order to kill a top Iranian general. (The Gazette)

There’s “plenty of precedent” for President Donald Trump to order the killing of a top Iranian general accused of involvement in terrorism against the United States’ interests in the Middle East, Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.

The president was right to act, the Iowa Republican said, because Qassem Soleimani “had his fingers in all of that stuff for the last 20 years.”

“He was in the middle of every terrorist plot, supporting terrorist activities in almost every country in the Middle East,” Grassley told reporters.

Most importantly, he said, was Soleimani’s role in the death of 600 Americans in Iraq at his hands — about one-fifth of the service people who died there.

Sen. Joni Ernst agreed, saying on Wednesday the president did “absolutely the right thing” in killing Soleimani.

“Let me be clear, Soleimani was a brutal terrorist who orchestrated attacks around the globe,” she said on Twitter. “President Donald Trump has shown strong and decisive leadership in his maximum pressure campaign against Iran.”

Grassley, who planned to attend a Senate briefing Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the strike, compared Trump’s action to those taken by President Barack Obama in response to attacks on Americans and American interests, including the order to kill Osama bin Laden.

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Given the warning of “imminent danger” to Americans, Grassley said, “if the president didn’t do it, I would be criticizing him for not doing it if I knew he could have taken that mastermind on terrorism out of the picture — and so would the Democrats who are criticizing him now for doing what he was doing.”

He believes the president has the authority under the War Powers Act — in place since 1973 — to order Soleimani’s killing. Grassley said he sees no need to change the act.

Looking ahead. Grassley said there might be legitimate reasons to rewrite the authorization for military action approved after 9/11 that has been the basis of most of what the United States has done in the Middle East since then.

Ernst, who served in the Iowa National Guard in Iraq, had no qualms about Soleimani’s killing.

“It is easy for me to call General Soleimani a terrorist, a man who orchestrated terrorist proxies all around the globe and supplied them with deadly devices, those IEDs that have killed and maimed hundreds and thousands of Americans,” Ernst said on Fox Business Network.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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