President Trump delivered remarks from Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday afternoon – his first spoken remarks since ordering the deadly airstrikes that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“Under my leadership, America’s policies are unambiguous to terrorists who harbor and intend to harm any American,” Trump said. “We will find you, we will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies.”
Trump said Soleimani was planning attacks on Americans, but added, “We caught him in the act and terminated him.”
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” Trump said.
Trump also touted the power of the U.S. military.
“The United States has the best military, by far, anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary — and that, in particular, refers to Iran,” he said.
Trump went on to detail Soleimani’s ruthless history, including orchestrating violence that killed and injured hundreds of Americans.
“For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its ruthless Quds Force under Soleimani’s leadership has targeted, injured, and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen,” adding that Soleimani directed the recent violent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the rocket strikes in Iraq that left one American contractor dead and four troops injured.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London. Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing his reign of terror is over,” Trump said.
Trump said Soleimani’s history of “perpetrating acts of terror” have stretched over the last 20 years.
“What the United States did yesterday should’ve been done long ago. A lot of lives would’ve been saved,” Trump said.
“Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government,” he continued.
Trump praised the Iranian people and denounced the Iranian regime’s aggressive behavior.
“I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change, however, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end and it must end now,” Trump warned.
“The future belongs to the people of Iran, those who seek peaceful coexistence and cooperation – not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad,” he said.
“Under my leadership, we have destroyed the ISIS territorial caliphate, and recently, American special operations forces killed the terrorist leader Al-Baghdadi,” Trump said, referring to the October 2019 raid that killed the former leader of ISIS.
“The world is a safer place without these monsters. America will always pursue the interests of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony, and friendship with all the nations of the world,” Trump said.
“Thank you. God bless you. God bless our great military, and God bless the United States of America,” he concluded.