Joe Biden on Tuesday ripped into President Donald Trump’s handling of the growing crisis with Iran, demanding the president provide evidence showing the drone strike that took out a top Iranian military official truly was aimed at preventing what the administration has insisted was an “imminent threat.”
In a speech in New York following a fundraiser, Biden slammed Trump for offering “tweets, threats and tantrums” and “shifting explanations” rather than “levelheaded words meant to dial down the tensions” with Iran. Pointing to the president’s rocky history with the truth, Biden asserted that “if there was an imminent threat that required this extraordinary action, then we are owed an explanation, and the facts to back it up.”
The former vice president, now a frontrunner in the Democratic race to challenge Trump for the White House in November, blasted the president, accusing him of isolating America on the international stage while potentially bolstering Iran, China and Russia and threatening to severely limit Washington’s options for de-escalation if the U.S. gets bogged down in yet another conflict in the Middle East.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have quickly reached a boiling point in the days since last week’s U.S. drone strike, which killed Iran’s top military commander at the Baghdad airport, with worries rising that the U.S. is on the brink of war with Iran.
In the days since, the Iraqi Parliament has voted to expel U.S. troops from the country, with U.S. officials sending conflicting messages about whether it would comply with such demands. The Trump administration has called the attack a defensive maneuver meant to avoid what it has characterized as an imminent threat, but has declined to release intelligence or detail any evidence backing up that claim.
And Trump has vowed to respond to any retaliation from Iran with equal force, while threatening sanctions against Iraq should it move to boot American troops. But the chaos of the last week has been entirely of Trump’s making, Biden contended on Tuesday.
“Make no mistake: This outcome of strategic setbacks, heightened threats, chants of ‘death to America’ once more echoing across the Middle East, Iran and its allies are vowing revenge — that was avoidable,” he argued.
He also laid out a series of paths forward that he advised Trump to take, noting that the president was highly unlikely to follow his suggestions.
Biden urged Trump to move to secure a number of American assets at home and abroad, work with U.S. allies in Europe and signal hopes for de-escalation to Iran. Most critically, he said, “you have to explain your decision and your strategy to the American people. That’s your job as president, Mr. President.”
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