In a series of tweets and retweets riddled with typos and offensive images, President Trump lashed out Monday morning against criticism over the way he and his administration have handled the killing of a top Iranian general.
Trump’s message conflated doubts raised about the process that led to the controversial airstrike on Gen. Qassem Soleimani with “trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy.”
The White House initially said that there was an imminent threat to American lives, but the administration has not publicly disclosed intelligence supporting that assertion. Over the weekend, Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News that Soleimani was planning to attack four U.S. embassies, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that he had not seen such evidence.
“The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was ‘eminent’ or not, & was my team in agreement,” Trump tweeted, misspelling ‘imminent.’ (He deleted and replaced the tweet with the correct spelling.) “The answer to both is a strong YES, but it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!”
“The Democrats and the Fake News are trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy, only because I did what should have been done for 20 years,” the president continued. “Anything I do, whether it’s the economy, military, or anything else, will be scorned by the Rafical [sic] Left, Do Nothing Democrats!”
In response to news of an antigovernment march in Tehran against the government’s belated admission that a Ukrainian plane had been accidentally shot down by Iranian antiaircraft fire, Trump tweeted: “Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag. It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!”
Earlier Monday, Trump retweeted several tweets castigating Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called for a House vote on a resolution limiting his war powers.
One of the retweets by the president included a Photoshopped image of Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wearing hijabs. Another included the photo of a bloody dead body, presumably in Iran, hanging over barbed wire.
“Question: Who in America supports this mullahs’ crime?” the tweet read. “Answer: Nancy Pelosi.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, called on Trump to apologize for his retweet of Pelosi and Schumer in traditional Muslim attire.
It's outrageous that @realDonaldTrump elevated such repulsive anti-Muslim bigotry. #Islamophobia is offensive & unbecoming of any leader, let alone @POTUS. When #hate & division are on the rise, this is the opposite of what we need from the President. An apology is in order ASAP. pic.twitter.com/dv1rEzynpW— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) January 13, 2020
Appearing on Fox News, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended it.
“I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans,” Grisham said. “I think the president was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries that want to kill Americans.”
Trump’s missives targeting the Democratic leadership come ahead of a likely Senate impeachment trial. Pelosi is expected to send the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate this week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected requests from Pelosi and Schumer for witness testimony and announced last week he has enough votes from his 53-member Republican majority to start a trial.
Trump, who has said he wanted numerous witnesses — including Hunter Biden and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff — to testify at his trial, seemed to suggest in a tweet Sunday that he now favors a quick vote to dismiss the case.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have,” Trump tweeted. “I agree!”
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