Politics & Policy

Biden Blames Trump for Causing New ‘Cycle of Violence’ with Iran

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in New Hampton, Iowa, December 5, 2019. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
The former vice president says Trump needs congressional authorization for ‘any further action against Iran.’

Des Moines—While campaigning in Iowa on Saturday night, former vice president Joe Biden criticized President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Quds Force general Quasem Soleimani and said that any further military action would require congressional approval. He also blamed the start of the “cycle of violence” with Iran on President Trump’s decision to exit the nuclear deal between the Obama administration and Iran.

“President Trump has no authority to take us to a military conflict with Iran, period,” Biden said at a townhall event in Des Moines. Entering into a conflict with Iran requires the “informed consent of the American people through their Congress,” he insisted. “Otherwise, it is an abuse of power. The bottom line is any further action against Iran requires congressional authorization.”

Biden did not take questions from the press after the event, and his press secretary did not respond to messages from National Review on Saturday night and Sunday morning seeking clarification about whether Biden would still say the president has no authority to take “any further action against Iran” if Iran were to launch new attacks on Americans or American interests.

Biden’s comments came shortly after President Trump tweeted on Saturday night:

The killing of Soleimani was a response to a series of Iranian-backed attacks on Americans, including the killing of an American contractor and wounding of U.S. troops in Iraq and an attempt to storm the American embassy in Baghdad. But Biden appeared to blame President Trump for starting the “cycle of violence” by withdrawing from the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“Let’s not forget how we got here. What he set in motion was . . . predictable,” Biden said of President Trump’s decision to cancel “the nuclear deal, which I and others in our administration put together.”

“Making America first in his view put America alone. So, folks, it’s not a surprise that this cycle of violence began,” Biden continued.

“The last thing we need is another war in the Middle East,” Biden said to applause. He added that President Trump has “moved us precipitously closer to an all-out war” that would require America to “send over 100,000 troops” if it breaks out.

Soleimani “does have American blood on his hands, so don’t mourn his passing,” Biden advised. “But the administration has given us no confidence they have any plan or strategy in place for what to do next. None.”

Concluding his remarks on Iran, he said, “This just reinforces the stakes of this election in my view. That’s why it’s so important to elect someone who’s already ready on Day One.”

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