Democrats and Republicans in Congress have had differing responses to the Thursday night airstrike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, with Democrats generally expressing concern with the attack’s potential ramifications and Republicans generally supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to take out Soleimani.
While the death of Soleimani, who controlled Iran’s elite Quds Force, has not been lamented by either party, the circumstances around the attack and its potential for a dramatic escalation of tensions in the Middle East have led many Democrats to push back against the Trump administration’s decision to kill the powerful Iranian general.
Most of the Nevada delegation has taken to Twitter or released statements expressing their alarm over the decision, with many voicing serious concerns that the attack could lead to further American deaths in the region.
Soleimani was the commander of an elite faction of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that served as a tool by which Iran pushed its agenda across the Middle East. It did so by, among other things, backing paramilitary groups in Middle Eastern countries seen to be sympathetic to Iranian influence and goals.
The Revolutionary Guard was declared a terrorist organization by the Trump administration in April because of its backing of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shiite militias in Iraq. It was the first time the United States had declared an official state organization as a terrorist group.
Soleimani has been reported to have been close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of Iran who has promised “harsh retaliation” for his death.
Nevada’s federal lawmakers released the following statements.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
Cortez Masto, a Democrat, tweeted that, while Soleimani deserved to be brought to justice, the escalation caused by his death would likely put Americans in the Middle East at risk from retaliatory attacks.
“I’ve previously called on President Trump to outline his strategy on Iran and how it serves American interests,” she said. “It’s more important now than ever to know how this administration intends to keep Americans in the region safe and how it plans to prevent a broader conflict.”
Sen. Jacky Rosen
Rosen, a Democrat, said in a statement that the country needs to plan to keep Americans safe in the Middle East against any possible Iranian retaliation.
“Qassem Soleimani facilitated brutal and violent acts that took the lives of thousands, including hundreds of American service members,” Rosen said. “It is critical that we see a real strategy for responding to any potential future actions taken by the Iranian regime. We now need a plan for protecting our troops on the ground and other personnel in the region while we continue to hold Iran accountable for its support of terrorism.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus, a Democrat whose congressional district includes most of Las Vegas and the Strip, called for the Trump administration to explain to Congress what further actions will be taken and said there was no desire for another war.
“The Trump Administration must fully brief Congress on the airstrikes and its plan to protect those in harm’s way from Iranian retaliation,” she said in her statement. “Soleimani was responsible for killing hundreds of Americans and we must do whatever possible to ensure that his death does not lead to further bloodshed. The American people have no appetite for war with Iran and neither do I.”
Rep. Susie Lee
Lee, whose district makes up most of Henderson, tweeted that this type of action without congressional approval is “unacceptable.”
“In light of the air strike against Iranian IRGC Gen. Soleimani, I send my prayers and support to U.S. military and diplomatic personnel throughout the Middle East whose lives are now under increased threat,” tweeted Lee, a Democrat.
Rep. Steven Horsford
Horsford, a Democrat whose district takes up much of North Las Vegas and a large portion of Nevada’s rural areas, outlined via Twitter his opinion of Soleimani as an enemy of America but expressing concern his death would further endanger Americans.
“It is my solemn duty to protect and defend my constituents — including the nearly 5,000 service members and their families that I represent — and I fear this airstrike and the death of Soleimani may provoke further escalation of violence as a result of this action,” he said.
Rep. Mark Amodei
Amodei, the delegation’s sole Republican, whose district makes up much of northern Nevada, said past actions, such as the Iranian deal for limited nuclear development negotiated by former President Barack Obama, had not done much to stabilize the region, and there’s near-unanimous consent that Soleimani was an abettor of terrorism.
“This guy’s got a 40-year track record of not celebrating the 4th of July with hot dogs and apple pie,” Amodei said. “There’s not a winner in any of this.”