Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined CNN and MSNBC Thursday night where he weighed in on the airstrike earlier in the day that killed high-ranking Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport. President Donald Trump said just two days earlier that he doesn’t want, nor does he foresee, war with Iran. Though Booker agrees that Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of American deaths, he also expressed concern that the consequences of such a strike may not have been well thought out.
“This is not something that should be done on impulse,” Booker said. “It should be done in a larger strategic vision and understanding what the consequences could be in taking out this significant — assassinating someone of such a significant leadership role in Iran.”
Other presidential candidates also shared their thoughts and concerns about the killing of Soleimani.
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.
Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 3, 2020
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
Booker also expressed his doubts that military action will solve the state of constant conflict in the region.
“This Middle East we have seen is not going to be solved, as we know in Afghanistan now with the Afghan papers coming out, we are not going to solve these problems, as our own generals are saying, with our United States military,” Booker said. “There must be diplomatic solutions.”
The Pentagon said in a statement after the strike that Soleimani was developing plans to attack Americans in the region, as he has done in the past, and that this was a defensive measure. But, as the airstrike was carried out without congressional approval, Booker isn’t quite ready to accept the Trump administrations rationale.
“I have a lot of concerns right now as this is unfolding about that standard of the use of military force and I have a lot of concerns about a president who’s already shown to have no strategy for the larger challenges we have in the Middle East, especially around Iran,” Booker told CNN, later adding on MSNBC, “These are statements coming from the Trump White House. There’s a lot more facts that have to come out to see if indeed this president, who already has done things that have undermined what people on both sides of the political aisle in the Senate have said do not constitute the authorization for the use of military force.”
CNN Tonight With Don Lemon airs weeknights at 10 p.m. on CNN.
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