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Datum objave: 08.01.2020
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Trump unfurls a new attack for 2020: Dems as Iran sympathizers

The president’s quick deployment of his Iran strike as a rhetorical weapon against Democrats carries risks for the GOP

Trump unfurls a new attack for 2020: Dems as Iran sympathizers

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/07/trump-attack-2020-dems-iran-sympathizers-095762


The president’s quick deployment of his Iran strike as a rhetorical weapon against Democrats carries risks for the GOP — if Iran’s promised retaliation draws the U.S. into another protracted Middle East war.


After years of casting himself as the leader to end America’s decades-long wars, President Donald Trump is now trying to use his administration’s aggressive military strike against Iran to his political advantage — as a tool to batter his Democratic rivals.

Trump and his conservative allies are hitting the airwaves and social media to portray Democrats as Iran sympathizers for questioning the president’s decision to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, leaning into patriotism and national security threats ahead of the 2020 election as a way to cast the Democrats as the weaker party.

 “The president took out the world’s most threatening terrorist and the Democrats are trying to take out the president. He wins!” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “The alarmists and apologists show skepticism about our own intelligence and sympathy for Soleimani.”

The theme echoed across conservative circles and airwaves over the last 24 hours, thanks to the talking points of Trump’s most ardent supporters. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, said on Fox News that “the only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat Presidential candidates,” while White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said on the same channel that President Barack Obama designated Soleimani a terrorist but then did nothing.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel asked how many more Americans needed to die before Democrats viewed Trump’s actions as justified. “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?” McDaniel said. “The president did the right thing, he took action. Everyone knows that this is a man who has American blood on his hands, and it was time to take him out. He did the right thing in protecting the men and women of this country.”

Heading into the 2020 election, both the president’s moves in Iran and the impending impeachment trial are providing Trump an opportunity to pump himself up as a tough guy. In addition to fighting off the Democratic investigations and the two articles of impeachment, he is also now talking tough on Iran — which he has long viewed as a country that President Barack Obama and George W. Bush went too easy on.

 “Ours was an attack based on what they did. We weren’t the first one out. He killed an American,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Tuesday about the drone strike he ordered that killed the Iranian military leader last Friday in Baghdad. “He was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster. He’s dead.“

 “I don’t hear too many people other than politicians who are trying to win the presidency. Those are the ones that are complaining, but I don’t hear anybody else complaining,” Trump added.

The aggressive push carries substantial risks for Trump and his party as the U.S. awaits retaliation from Iran that could last months or more. If Trump’s gamble leads Americans into another dangerous and costly war in the Middle East, voters could strike back at the GOP in November, and Trump could alienate voters attracted to his campaign promises of extracting the U.S. from places like Iraq and Afghanistan — two centers of protracted, costly and deadly military conflicts for a generation.

Democrats are positioning themselves ahead of the retaliation by accusing Trump of acting rashly, without considering the consequences of escalation ratcheting up with Iran and without seeking the input of congressional leaders.

“I’ve grown increasingly concerned about the strike against Soleimani and what it might mean for the safety of American troops in the region and the future of America’s involvement in the Middle East,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “The president’s decision-making has been erratic. It’s been impulsive without regard for the long-term consequences of America’s actions abroad. He prefers reality-show diplomacy and photo-ops with foreign leaders to substantive progress. As a result, the president’s foreign policy has been dangerously incompetent. When you look at nearly every hot spot around the globe, he’s made the situation worse, not better.”

Several top Trump officials are scheduled to deliver classified briefings on Wednesday to both House and Senate lawmakers on the reasoning behind the Iranian strike.

In the meantime, Democratic presidential hopefuls like former Vice President Joe Biden have also jumped in to criticize the president’s actions. Following a fundraiser in New York, Biden called out Trump for “shifting explanations” on Iran instead of “levelheaded words meant to dial down the tensions.”

“If there was an imminent threat that required this extraordinary action, then we are owed an explanation, and the facts to back it up,” Biden said.iden on Iran: ‘We have not heard a sober-minded explanation to reassure the American People’

Apart from calling Soleimani a “monster” and speaking in broad terms about an imminent threat, the Trump administration has not yet offered up a detailed explanation about why it opted to kill the Iranian general at this particular juncture.

Trump himself has gone from a relative isolationist on the global stage to a chest-thumping interventionist president within the last week. And Republicans are following his lead – focusing on the contrast with Democrats. One former top Trump campaign official argued the Iranian strike actually “puts Joe Biden in a bind” instead of Trump.

“He is the candidate with a half century of elected experience,” said Jason Miller, a senior communications adviser on the 2016 campaign. “When Biden first went to the U.S. Senate, there was still a shah in Iran. When Trump talks about failed foreign policy with Iran going back decades, Biden is literally the embodiment of that.”


Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.

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