Nets Seize on Dems Blasting ‘Reckless’ Killing of Soleimani

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On Friday, all three network morning shows were quick to seize on Democratic talking points slamming the U.S. killing of Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani as “reckless” and even “illegal.” It all came amid media hand-wringing over the air strike in which journalists labeled the brutal murderer “iconic” and “inspirational.”

Early on NBC’s Today show, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell declared: “Today, what experts are calling a watershed moment in the 40-year cold war between the U.S. and Iran’s regime, with many U.S. officials in both parties glad that a leading Iranian military figure is gone, but critics calling it a reckless act that could lead to a dangerous reprisals.”

 

 

Introducing a later report on the political reaction, fill-in co-host and Nightly News anchor Lester Holt highlighted those critics: “Democrats warning of massive consequences after that U.S. attack, labeling it ‘reckless.’” Chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson emphasized how “members of Congress are being much more direct in their criticism of the President, their concerns about this strike that killed Qasem Soleimani.”

The reporter touted Nancy Pelosi condemning: “Tonight’s air strike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.” As well as Adam Schiff ranting: “Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran.”

After briefly mentioning President Trump receiving support from congressional Republicans, Jackson hyped attacks from Democratic presidential candidates:

On the campaign trail, 2020 Democrats slamming the President. Senator Elizabeth Warren calling the move “reckless,” Senator Bernie Sanders warning of dangerous escalation, and former Vice President Joe Biden writing, “No American will mourn Soleimani’s passing, but President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan.”

The NBC morning show coverage also labeled Soleimani “an iconic military leader” and feared that his death would lead to a “more dangerous world.”

“Well, the reaction here from the Hill overnight was swift and divisive,” congressional correspondent Mary Bruce asserted on ABC’s Good Morning America. While noting Republicans praising the action, she cited Democrats “warning that this is a reckless escalation that could have serious dire consequences” and “furious that Congress was not consulted.”

Reporting from the 2020 campaign trail, fellow correspondent Eva Pilgrim quoted multiple Democrats eagerly attacking Trump:

Former Vice President Joe Biden releasing a statement saying, “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the middle East.” Bernie Sanders saying, “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.” Elizabeth Warren tweeting, “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.” The Democratic candidates have long been critical of the President’s knowledge of foreign policy.

“President Trump’s decision to authorize the deadly strike faces criticism from Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress,” fill-in co-host Jericka Duncan told viewers on CBS This Morning. Correspondent Ed O’Keefe explained: “Democrats don’t question whether or not General Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, they’re just upset that the administration didn’t seek congressional authorization before taking those steps.”

He then promoted the argument from liberal lawmakers that the President was breaking the law:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the President’s actions, saying, “America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.” And Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, said the attack raises “serious legal problems.” He says according to the War Powers Resolution, the President is required by law to notify Congress within 48 hours.

O’Keefe then noted Republicans backing the air strike.

Later in the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, the broadcast eulogized Soleimani as a “revered,” “inspiring,” “military genius.”

No matter what action Trump takes, the media will predictably rush to promote Democrats denouncing the move. Even when that move is taking out one of America’s enemies.

Here is a transcript of the January 3 report on NBC’s Today show:

7:13 AM ET

LESTER HOLT: Democrats warning of massive consequences after that U.S. attack, labeling it “reckless.” NBC chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson with that part of the story. Hallie, good morning to you.

HALLIE JACKSON: Lester, good morning. Here in south Florida, President Trump today is retweeting those State Department security alerts from travelers in Iraq. He also sent out that cryptic tweet overnight of simply the American flag. But members of Congress are being much more direct in their criticism of the President, their concerns about this strike that killed Qasem Soleimani. And while some Republicans are praising President Trump for what they see as justified action, some are pledging to push for answers about what will happen next.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump Orders Deadly Attack Against Iran General; Strike Divides Congress as Democrats Call Military Action “Reckless”]

Lawmakers this morning are demanding more details from the President about the U.S. air strike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq, with rising concerns about escalating tensions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring the strike, ordered by the President and resulting in the death of a top Iranian general, lacked authorization, and demanding the Trump administration immediately brief lawmakers, releasing a statement warning: “Tonight’s air strike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence,” adding, “The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the administration.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff adding, “Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran. All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk.”

Several Republicans echoing that call for congressional consultation, including Senator Mitt Romney, who urged the administration to pursue a coherent strategy and promising to press for additional details.

Overall, reaction was mostly split down party lines, with the President’s allies praising the move. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeting, “Soleimani was a terrorist. President Trump and our brave service members just reminded Iran – and the world – that we will not let attacks against Americans go unpunished.” Senator Tom Cotton tweeting Soleimani “got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice.”

On the campaign trail, 2020 Democrats slamming the President. Senator Elizabeth Warren calling the move “reckless,” Senator Bernie Sanders warning of dangerous escalation, and former Vice President Joe Biden writing, “No American will mourn Soleimani’s passing, but President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan.”

And Senator Sanders tweeting again this morning that he will do everything in his power to make sure that the U.S. does not go to war with Iran. Expect Sanders and other lawmakers to insist on details from President Trump about his strategy moving forward when they and the President get back to Washington after the holiday break next week. The fallout from this strike playing out not just overseas, but here at home. Lester?

HOLT: Alright, Hallie Jackson this morning, thank you.

Here is a transcript of the report on ABC’s GMA:

7:12 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: The reaction to the strike coming quickly from Capitol Hill. Many Republican lawmakers lining up to support President Trump’s decision while many Democrats are upset Congress was not consulted. Mary Bruce has much more on all that for us. Good morning, Mary.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, Robin. Well, the reaction here from the Hill overnight was swift and divisive. Republicans are touting this as a Trump success, saying the President made the brave and right call here. The President’s top ally on the Hill, Senator Lindsey Graham, tweeting, “Wow, the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically,” calling this a “major blow to the Iranian regime that has American blood on its hands.”

While Democrats, they agree the Iranian commander was an enemy of the U.S., they are warning that this is a reckless escalation that could have serious dire consequences. And Democrats are furious that Congress was not consulted. One senator, Senator Udall tweeting, “Trump is bringing our nation to the brink of an illegal war.”

And, Robin, both sides of the aisle here this morning are now demanding more information. They want to know what comes next and whether there is a plan. Whether the U.S. is prepared in case Iran retaliates. Robin?

ROBERTS: Many want to know what happens next. All right, Mary, thank you. Whit?

WHIT JOHNSON: That’s right, Robin. And that escalation difficult to predict. The Democratic candidates also weighing in on the decision to take out Soleimani. Eva Pilgrim is in Iowa this morning with reaction from the campaign trail. Eva, good morning to you.

EVA PILGRIM: Good morning, Whit. Yeah, the candidates vying for the President’s job speaking out, questioning his decision-making for the air strike.

SEN. CORY BOOKER [D-NJ]: We have a president that’s made that area more unstable, more dangerous.

PILGRIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden releasing a statement saying, “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the middle East.” Bernie Sanders saying, “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.” Elizabeth Warren tweeting, “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.”

The Democratic candidates have long been critical of the President’s knowledge of foreign policy. Hours before news of the air strike broke, several candidates expressing their concerns.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: We should be engaged around the rest of the world but should be very worried about any development that poses the risk of getting us further drawn into conflicts or leading to new ones.

PILGRIM: And no doubt we will hear from more of those candidates today. T.J.?

T.J. HOLMES: Alright, Eva, thank you so much.

Here is a transcript of the report on CBS This Morning:

7:14 AM ET

JERICKA DUNCAN: President Trump’s decision to authorize the deadly strike faces criticism from Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress. Ed O’Keefe is on Capitol Hill. Ed, how are lawmakers responding this morning?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Congress Reacts to Drone Strike; Democrats Question Legality of President’s Decision]  

ED O’KEEFE: Well, good morning, Jericka. Democrats don’t question whether or not General Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, they’re just upset that the administration didn’t seek congressional authorization before taking those steps. Take, for example, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Aides tell me he didn't get a heads-up about this before it happened, neither did other top leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the President’s actions, saying, “America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.” And Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, said the attack raises “serious legal problems.” He says according to the War Powers Resolution, the President is required by law to notify Congress within 48 hours.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans are calling it a success and justice for the American troops killed at the hands of General Soleimani through the years. Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Trump, said, quote, “If Iran continues to attack America and our allies, they should pay the heaviest of prices, which includes the destruction of their oil refineries.”

And quickly, we should point out today marks one month until the Iowa caucus. Candidates will be holding more than 50 events in that state through the weekend. Tony, this is likely now to be a big topic of conversation.

TONY DOKOUPIL: Indeed, Ed. Thank you so much.

NB Daily Congress Foreign Policy Middle East Iran Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Mary Bruce Hallie Jackson Ed O'Keefe Eva Pilgrim Donald Trump Qasem Soleimani

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