Politics

Years before killing Qasem Soleimani, Trump warned Obama would start a war with Iran to get reelected

Key Points
  • Years before authorizing the killing of top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, Donald Trump warned that President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran in order to win reelection to the White House.
  • Twitter users immediately noted that fact on the heels of Soleimani's death from an American drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Many observers fear the killing put the United States and Iran on track toward a possible full-scale war.
In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
Alex Brandon | AP

There's always a tweet — and sometimes a video, too.

Years before authorizing the killing of top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani on Thursday night, Donald Trump repeatedly warned that then-President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran in order to win reelection to the White House.

Twitter users immediately noted that fact on the heels of Soleimani's death from an American drone strike at the airport in Baghdad, Iraq, which many observers said put the United States and Iran on track toward a possible full-scale war.

VIDEO2:2602:26
Iran's supreme leader vows revenge after US kills top general in airstrike

"President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox," said former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Trump's order for the attack on Soleimani, a major general who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, came 10 months before the U.S. presidential election — in which Trump is seeking a second term in the White House — and weeks after the House of Representatives impeached him.

Trump justified the attack by saying that Soleimani "has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more ... but got caught!"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Trump's decision was made "in response to imminent threats to American lives."

In November 2011, a year before the 2012 presidential election, which Obama won to secure his own second term, Trump wrote on Twitter: "In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran."

In a video he posted online in that same month, Trump expanded on that warning.

"Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate," Trump said of Obama. "He's weak and he's ineffective. So the only way he figures that he's going to get reelected, and as sure as you're sitting there, is to start a war with Iran."

"Now, I'm more militant and more militaristic than the president," Trump added. "I believe in strength, but to start a war in order to get elected, and I believe that's going to happen, would be an outrage."

"We have a real problem in the White House," Trump said. "I believe he will attack Iran sometime before the election."

Trump repeated that warning about Obama starting a war with Iran in August 2012, and then again in October 2012, a month before the election, when he tweeted: "Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected be careful Republicans."

Obama never started a war with Iran.

But Trump on Friday morning suggested that Obama — or another U.S. president — should have been combative with Iran and ordered the targeted killing of Soleimani years ago.

"He should have been taken out many years ago!" Trump tweeted.

VIDEO1:3101:31
Trump offers rationale for drone strike on Iranian general