Ruppersberger Issues Statement on Airstrike that Eliminated High-Ranking Iranian Commander
(Timonium, MD) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) today issued the following statement after a U.S. drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top military commanders, along with other militia leaders in Iraq Thursday night:
“As a former member of the Gang of Eight, Soleimani was a threat that kept me up at night. He was the head of a U.S. designated terrorist organization who was responsible for the murder of hundreds if not thousands of Americans and was actively plotting more. He was one of the most dangerous men in the world and I feel no sadness over his death.
Now, Congress demands to know why this Administration saw fit to carry out this operation without authorization. Previous administrations have prioritized Congressional collaboration, especially when considering activity against nation-state actors. I saw this process work productively and bipartisanly firsthand as a member of the Gang of Eight – not just to continue a tradition of inter-branch trust, but in some cases, out of legal necessity. It’s a process that can’t be unilaterally dismissed over politics.
This action is the latest in a dangerous and reckless pattern from a Commander in Chief who refuses to accept Congress as a coequal branch of government and whose foreign policy strategy changes daily. President Trump campaigned on a pledge to disengage in the Middle East – but this action will necessitate involvement for what’s likely years to come. We must know: what is his plan? Did he consider the short-term and long-term consequences? We now face the very real possibility of a large-scale retaliatory attack and significant risk to Americans around the globe. The Administration must brief Congress. We must do everything in our power to protect our troops on the ground and deescalate.”