KEY POINTS
  • Trump's advisers presented him with an array of options for responding to a rocket attack on a U.S.-Iraqi base that killed an American contractor. 
  • The most dramatic possible response: taking out Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
  • Trump immediately wanted to target Soleimani. It was a decision his predecessors had avoided and one that risked inflaming tensions with Tehran.
U.S President Donald Trump attends the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC.

At the midway point of his annual Christmas vacation, President Donald Trump huddled at his Florida club with his top national security advisers. Days earlier, a rocket attack by an Iranian-funded group struck a U.S.-Iraqi base, killing an American contractor and wounding several others.

Trump's advisers presented him with an array of options for responding, including the most dramatic possible response: taking out Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force and the man responsible for hundreds of Americans deaths.