Trump, speaking at a Republican fundraising event on Friday at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, did not mention the “imminent threat” that he previously claimed led to his decision to order Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.
The latest remarks further contradict the Trump administration’s publicly stated justification for ordering the US drone strike, which has drawn international outcry.
The “imminent threat” justification has been used by US officials in the aftermath of the assassination, but they have they failed to provide any evidence for their claim.
NBC News reported on Monday that Trump had authorized the US military to assassinate Gen. Soleimani seven months ago, contradicting his “imminent threat” justification.
Gen. Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated in the Iraqi capital Baghdad early January 3.
Iran responded by launching missiles at Iraqi military bases that house US troops.
In his latest remarks, Trump, who has a reputation for getting facts wrong, claimed erroneously that Gen. Soleimani was meeting the head of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah in Baghdad.
Trump acknowledged at the fundraising event that the assassination of Gen. Soleimani “shook up the world.”
He went on to recount listening to US military officials as they watched the strike from “cameras that are miles in the sky.”
“They’re together sir,” Trump recalled the military officials saying. “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. ‘2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ “
“Then all of a sudden, boom,” he went on. “‘They’re gone, sir. Cutting off.’ “
Trump’s detailed recounting of the attack goes further than what he or other US officials have said about the assassination.
The US has been conducting drone strikes in several countries. The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush in 2004, were escalated under former President Barack Obama.
Human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say US officials are committing war crimes for carrying out the drone strikes and should stand trial.
Ayatollah Khamenei: US disgraced after assassination of Gen. Soleimani Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the US assassination of Iran
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Friday the assassination disgraced the US as Washington had to own up to the “terrorist” action and see its image dealt a blow by Iran’s retaliation.
“The day the missiles of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps crushed the US base is one of the days of God. The Guards’ response was a major blow to America’s fearsome superpower image,” the Leader told a huge crowd in Tehran on Friday.
Iran pounded two US bases in Iraq with missiles in retaliation for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani.
“The day of God means seeing the hand of God in the events – the day when tens of millions in Iran and hundreds of thousands in Iraq and some other countries came to the streets to honor the blood of the commander of the Quds Force,” he said.