Channel 1 Los Angeles
Palm Beach, Florida 1/4/2020
Remarks by President Trump on the Killing of Qasem Soleimani
For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its ruthless Quds Force — under Soleimani’s leadership — has targeted, injured, and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen.
The recent attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen very badly, as well as a violent assault on our embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani.
Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.
Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities, and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.
**SITUATION ON IRAK***
Press Correspondents’ Room
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: We did – this was a defensive strike that was taken and supported by very solid intelligence, and I’ve seen all the intelligence. This was strongly supported by everything that we were seeing that Soleimani was planning imminent attacks against American diplomats and our armed forces members in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and in the region.
Given – so Soleimani is the major architect. He is the architect of Iran’s major terrorist attacks over the last 20 years. He’s killed 608 Americans in Iraq alone. And so when we start seeing extensive and very solid intelligence that he is plotting imminent attacks against the United States, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has a duty to take decisive action.
That decisive action has been threatened for a year and a half, since September 11th of 2018, when the White House put out a statement saying that there – this is after the rocket attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Iraq, and he said we are going to deny Iran the fiction of deniable attacks; we’re not going to honor the distinction, the false distinction between Iran and the regime and its proxies, and if the regime or its proxies strike at American interests or personnel they’ll – there will be decisive action. Secretary Pompeo said it on December 13th. We’ve said it more times than I can count. The Iranians just didn’t believe us. And the Iranians met the condition of the threat.
And as – and so – and I’ll also say this: If we had not taken this action, and hundreds of Americans were dead, you would be asking me, “Why didn’t you take out Soleimani when you had the chance?” I get all these questions about, “Oh, aren’t you – isn’t this the beginning of something bigger?” and everything else. This was – the conditions were met to take decisive action to eliminate a very, very, very effective terrorist in the heart of the Middle East to save hundreds of American lives.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL THREE: Here’s a Soleimani story from my experiences with him. He put a rocket through Stu Jones’s roof in Baghdad in 2011 to make some message we didn’t quite understand, but we didn’t pay enough attention to it. He then put a rocket through my roof. We were then trying to reach out and communicate with these guys, de-escalate, what I’m – was hearing all morning from our coalition partners, and he launched the Cafe Milano strike that would have blown up along with al-Jubeir some hundred-plus people. Now, it was always hard to get all the way up to the grand leader on that one, but it certainly was not hard to get up to Qasem Soleimani on this thing. This guy was, as said, unique. There were things he could do that nobody else could do. He was not a decentralized manager; he was a hands-on, down-to-the-details manager. And we are not safe in the region as long as Iran is pursuing this general strategy, but we are safer without him than we are with him. I’ll make that statement from years of experience dealing with this guy and his minions.