McConnell on Ongoing Threat from Iran: “We Are All Americans First and We Are All In This Together”
‘The full Senate will be briefed on Wednesday. I expect the committees of oversight will also conduct hearings and that senators will have plenty of opportunities to discuss our interests and policies in the region. I urge my colleagues to bring a full awareness of the facts, mindfulness of the long history of Iran’s aggression toward the United States and its allies, and a sober understanding of the threat Iran continues to pose.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Iran:
‘As the Senate convenes this afternoon, we find our nation facing two grave and serious choices. One concerns our unity at home and the future of our Constitution; the other involves our strength abroad and the security of our homeland.
‘Both situations demand serious, sober treatment from Congress. Both require that we put enduring national interests ahead of the factionalism and short-termism the founding fathers warned us about.
‘But unfortunately, seriousness is in short supply lately from the determined critics of President Trump. And our nation is worse for it.
‘Last Thursday, the United States took decisive action to end the murderous scheming of Iran’s chief terrorist.
‘Qassem Soleimani had spent years masterminding attacks on American servicemembers and our partners throughout the Middle East and expanding Iran’s influence. Despite sanctions, despite prohibitions by the UN Security Council, he roamed throughout the region with impunity.
‘His hands bore the blood of more American servicemembers than anyone else alive. Hundreds of American families have buried loved ones because of him. Veterans have learned to live with permanent injuries inflicted by his terrorists. And in Iraq, in Syria, and beyond, the entire region felt the effects of his evil tactics.
‘We should welcome his death and its complication of Tehran’s terrorism-industrial complex. But we must remain vigilant and soberly prepare for even further aggression.
‘Now, it is completely appropriate this decision would generate interest and questions from this body. We can and should learn more about the intelligence and thinking that led to this operation and the plan to defend American personnel and interests in the wake of it.
‘I’m glad that the administration will hold an all-senators briefing on Wednesday. It will be led by Secretary of Defense Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley, Secretary of State Pompeo, and CIA Director Haspel.
‘Unfortunately, in this toxic political environment, some of our colleagues rushed to blame our own government before even knowing the facts… rushed to split hairs about intelligence before being briefed on it… and rushed to downplay Soleimani’s evil while presenting our own president as the villain.
‘Soon after the news broke, one of our distinguished colleagues made a public statement that rightly called Soleimani a “murderer”... but then, amazingly, walked that message back when the far left objected to that factual statement. Since then I believe all her criticism has been directed at our own president.
‘Another of our Democratic colleagues has been thinking out loud about Middle East policy on social media. Mere days before President Trump’s decision, this senator tore into the White House for what he described as weakness and inaction. “No one fears us,” he complained, “Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East."
‘But since the strike — a total 180. The same senator has harshly criticized our own president for getting tough. Ludicrously, he and others on the left have accused the administration of committing an illegal act, and equated the removal of this terrorist leader with a foreign power assassinating our own Secretary of Defense.
‘Here’s what one expert had to say about that. Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s own former Pentagon general counsel and Secretary of Homeland Security, said, quote:
“If you believe everything that our government is saying about General Soleimani, he was a lawful military objective, and the president, under his constitutional authority as commander in chief, had ample domestic legal authority to take him out without an additional congressional authorization. Whether he was a terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military objective.”
‘That was President Obama’s DHS secretary.
‘And our former colleague Senator Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat Vice-Presidential nominee, wrote this morning that “In their uniformly skeptical or negative reactions to Soleimani’s death, Democrats are… creating the risk that the U.S. will be seen as acting and speaking with less authority abroad at this important time.”
‘That’s how a former Democrat Senator sees this.
‘Look — the Senate is supposed to be the chamber where overheated partisan passions give way to sober judgment.
‘Can we not wait until we know the facts? Can we not maintain a shred, just a shred, of national unity for five minutes before deepening the partisan trenches?
‘Must Democrats’ distaste for this president dominate every thought they express and every decision they make? Is that really the seriousness that this situation deserves?
‘The full Senate will be briefed on Wednesday. I expect the committees of oversight will also conduct hearings and that senators will have plenty of opportunities to discuss our interests and policies in the region.
‘I urge my colleagues to bring a full awareness of the facts, mindfulness of the long history of Iran’s aggression toward the United States and its allies, and a sober understanding of the threat Iran continues to pose.
‘We are all Americans first and we are all in this together.’
Related Issues: Iran, America's Military