Did President Donald Trump order the assassination of an Iranian military leader in order to distract from his impending impeachment trial?
That question was posed to a Democratic candidate for president over the weekend. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss her candidacy as well as the recent airstrike that was ordered by Trump to kill Qasem Soleimani.
Warren said the Soleimani strike “increased the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict,” according to a report from Haaretz.
“The question is why now?” Warren pointed out. “Why not a month ago? Why not a month from now? And the administration simply can’t keep its story straight. It points in all different directions.”
The administration’s rationale for killing Soleimani has shifted somewhat, reporting from CNN noted. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as Trump himself, said the decision to strike the military leader was made due to an imminent attack he was planning against American soldiers in the Middle East (proof of that reasoning has yet to be made public).
However, the Pentagon offered a different, albeit similar, case for his killing, saying the strike was meant to deter future attacks in the region against American interests. No mention of an imminent threat was made by the Pentagon.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 6, 2020
Asked by host Chuck Todd whether Trump may have “pulled the trigger” for other reasons — including as a means to change newspaper headlines from impeachment to Iran — Warren responded in the affirmative in her interview on Sunday.
“I think it is a reasonable question to ask, particularly when the administration, immediately after having taken this decision, offers a bunch of contradictory explanations for what is going on,” Warren said.
Other reports about Trump’s decision to strike Soleimani detail a president who felt many were unfairly characterizing him as weak on the issue of Iran, and that he worried he had to send a message of strength to that nation and around the world in general, The Week noted.