Republican congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said Democrats pushing to give Congress a say over further military action against Iran “are in love with terrorists.”
The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee made the comments on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight on Wednesday.
Collins went on to accuse Democrats of having sympathy for Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack last week, saying, “We see that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani. That’s a problem.”
— Peter (@Petervideo23) January 9, 2020
The congressman’s comments drew immediate criticism. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara went hard after Collins on Twitter, calling him an “asshole” while offering up financial support for whoever might challenge the congressman for reelection. “Who is running against this craven un-American ignorant asshole named Doug Collins? I will max out to you tomorrow. I hope you all join me,” Bharara wrote.
Many also pointed out the irony lost on Collins when using “Gold Star families” to malign Democrats and defend the president, forgetting that it was candidate Trump who attacked a Gold Star family in 2016 after they were critical of him at the Democratic National Convention.
Collins is not alone in taking this tack. According to Politico, this is part of an overall Republican strategy, a directive that has come from the White House. The president’s allies are to use any criticism of the military action taken against Iran and paint Democrats as sympathetic to Iran and terrorists.
On Monday, former ambassador to the United Nations under Trump Nikki Haley went on Fox News and said, “The only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat presidential candidates.”
That same day, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Democrats were guilty of “hero worship” when it came to Soleimani, saying, “It sounds like they’re defending Soleimani and attacking this president, and that’s on them. I’m a little tired of this hero worship of whoever the president has taken out.”
And Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel seemed to imply that any criticism of the president’s actions against Iran signals a lack of concern for the safety of American lives, saying, “It’s just frightening. And to hear Nancy Pelosi say that the president’s response was disproportionate, well, I’d like to ask Nancy Pelosi, how many more American lives need to be shed before there is a proportionate response?”
With this strategy, Republicans are intentionally trying to obscure the fact that while Democrats are saying Soleimani was a bad actor, they’re also arguing that to assassinate another nation’s general, taking us to the brink of an all-out war with Iran without congressional approval, is irresponsible and dangerous.