Trump issued the statement after Democratic members of Congress criticized him for not giving lawmakers warning in advance of an American drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani late last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the White House needed first to alert them and other lawmakers.
“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any United States person or target; the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!” Trump wrote on social media.
The Twitter post echoes similar statements that were made earlier in the day by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said Washington would swiftly attack if Iran retaliates.
“I’ve been part of the discussion and planning process—everything I’ve seen about how we will respond with great force and great vigor if the Iranian leadership makes a bad decision,” Pompeo said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding: “We hope that they won’t, but when they do, America will respond.”
The White House sent a notification to Congress on Saturday on the Thursday night strike, as obliged under the 1973 War Powers Act. Pelosi, who was briefed on the airstrike in its aftermath, said it raised more questions.
“This classified War Powers Act notification delivered to Congress raises more questions than it answers. This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner, and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran,” Pelosi wrote on Saturday. “The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”
Amid escalating rhetoric, Trump threatened to strike 52 Iranian sites if the country tried to seek vengeance. Iran’s Supreme Leader and top commanders said Tehran would have to carry out retaliatory attacks.
On Friday afternoon, Trump said the airstrike to take out Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force intelligence network and one of Iran’s most powerful officials, was designed to prevent a war.
Less than a day after the airstrike in Baghdad, Trump told reporters in Florida that the United States “took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
“We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end, and it must end now,” the president said. “I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary, and that, in particular, refers to Iran,” Trump said.