On Tuesday night, Iran launched ballistic missile attacks against two U.S. bases in Iraq where military personnel is stationed, prompting strong reactions from U.S. lawmakers.
As the situation unfolded and the country awaited details and damage assessments, numerous U.S. political leaders indicated they were closely watching for updates of the situation. Here’s what they said:
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence.”
Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020
“America & world cannot afford war,” Pelosi’s comments continued.
The Iranian attacks come as threatened retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and pro-Iranian Iraqi militia members in Baghdad, Iraq last week. That U.S. strike came as a response to attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and Pentagon claims Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack Americans in the area.
Since Solemani was killed, Iran has threatened retaliation and President Donald Trump has warned of continued attacks if Iran responds with force.
As details about the potential casualties and damage from the attack remained unclear on Tuesday night, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden decided not to offer broad commentary about the news and instead joined his wife in offering prayers in support of U.S. personnel in the Middle East.
I’m going to hold off on commenting on the news tonight until we know more, but there is one thing I will say: Jill and I are keeping our troops and Americans overseas in our prayers. We hope you’ll keep them in yours.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 8, 2020
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, offered a similar expression of prayers for U.S. personnel and called for de-escalation in the region.
Tonight, my prayers are with our service members, our diplomats and personnel serving in Iraq, and their families—and all the people in the region.
This is a reminder why we need to de-escalate tension in the Middle East. The American people do not want a war with Iran. pic.twitter.com/Uqybp89u7n
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 8, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, joined Fox’s Sean Hannity to express criticism of the Obama administration on Tuesday night. Cruz suggested the Obama administration had sought to simply appease Iran and gave the country $1.7 billion in cash, to coax them into the 2015 nuclear deal.
They literally flew $1.7 billion in cash, in unmarked bills, on pallets in the dead of night into Iran.
The missiles that we saw fired on servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 8, 2020
“The missiles that we saw fired on servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with,” Cruz continued.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, also joined Sean Hannity’s show on Tuesday and called on Iran to move away from behavior such as sponsoring terror groups in the Middle East, using ballistic missiles and pursuing its nuclear program.
On Wednesday morning, Graham suggested further U.S. retaliation is “not necessary at this time,” but that the U.S. should settle its strategic objectives in regards to Iran.
In my view, retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time.
What is necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding Iran in a simple and firm fashion.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 8, 2020
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, also suggested there is no U.S. rush to determine a response to Iran’s attacks. He credited Trump for handling the situation well and said the U.S. was “well prepared for this sort of attack.”
The U.S. was well prepared for this sort of attack & has no need to rush to decide the appropriate response.
We have a broad range of options available & will be patient & deliberative in choosing the appropriate one.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 8, 2020
Ret. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North suggested Trump carry out limited strikes on Iran to hit the missile launch sites that conducted Tuesday’s attack, but also suggested the U.S. avoid a response that requires troops to be in harm’s way.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, tweeted the hashtags #NoWarWithIran and #StopTrumpsWar as she suggested Trump was attempting to get the U.S. involved in another Middle Eastern war.
Say it with me: #NoWarWithIran.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 7, 2020
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY, also expressed prayers for U.S. personnel and warned that Iran made a “grave miscalculation” in their attack.
I am monitoring the situation in Iraq closely and praying for our men and women in uniform. The Iranian regime has made a grave miscalculation by launching these attacks.
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) January 8, 2020
In his initial response to the attacks on Tuesday night, Trump indicated he was watching for a casualty and damage assessment of the attacks, but initial indications were that “all is well,” despite the attack. He said he would provide a more complete set of remarks on Wednesday morning.