“I appreciate President Donald Trump’s bold action against Iranian aggression. To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted as news broke about the United States military strike that killed the high-ranking Iranian military and intelligence official Qasem Soleimani on Thursday night.
The reaction from Graham, a staunch defender of President Donald Trump and a notorious military hawk, was not a surprise, nor was he alone. On Thursday night and into Friday, political reaction to the strike, unsurprisingly, fell mostly along partisan lines, with at least one lawmaker calling out another on Twitter over a disagreement regarding congressional authority in matters of military action.
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, went after Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, about Murphy’s objections to the administration bypassing Congress to carry out what Murphy suggested was an assassination. Sasse called his colleague’s take “drunk partisanship.”
This tweet is simply drunk partisanship. Gen. Soleimani has killed hundreds and hundreds of Americans, and was actively plotting more. This commander-in-chief — any C-in-C. — has an obligation to defend America by killing this bastard. https://t.co/eQmiCgegxS
— Senator Ben Sasse (@SenSasse) January 3, 2020
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a statement via Twitter expressing concerns about Iran’s possible reaction and seeking an explanation from Trump about his strategy.
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Other Democratic presidential candidates also voiced opinions via Twitter as the news came in. Elizabeth Warren denounced Soleimani and Trump in equal measure:
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
Bernie Sanders, long an opponent of foreign intervention, denounced Trump for risking yet another Middle East war:
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
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also raised concerns that Congress was left out of the loop. “This action was taken without the consultation of the Congress. The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region,” the speaker wrote in a statement.
Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, introduced a war powers resolution on Friday that would force a floor debate and vote in the Senate on further military operations against Iran.
There does seem to be some bipartisan agreement here. Republican Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul also tweeted his support for Congress’ involvement, writing, “A war without a Congressional declaration is a recipe for feckless intermittent eruptions of violence w/ no clear mission for our soldiers.”