President Donald Trump listens to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speak during their meeting, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
UPDATED 10:00 AM PT — Saturday, January 18, 2020
President Trump reportedly told Republican donors that “bad things were being said” about the U.S. prior to the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. During a Friday fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago Resort, the president gave a minute by minute account of the U.S. drone strike that killed the commander in Baghdad.
He described the exchange he had with military officials.
“‘They’re together sir. They have two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, nine, eight…’ Then all of a sudden, boom. ‘They’re gone, sir, cutting off.’ I said, ‘Where is this guy?’ That was the last I heard from him.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
According to audio recordings of the event, the president said Soleimani’s prior comments incentivized his decision to authorize the strike. This validated the administration’s previous claim that an “imminent threat” against the U.S. was the reason for the strike.
In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers his sermon in the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
This came after the president issued a word of warning to Iran’s supreme leader amid heightened tensions between both nations. In a Friday tweet, he slammed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying the nation’s economy is crashing and he should be “careful with his words.”
In a separate tweet, President Trump praised the people of Iran. He said they need a government that will help them succeed.
This followed Khamenei’s rare public address earlier in the day, in which he called Soleimani a martyr. He went on to say the general was the strongest commander in the fight against terrorism.
The supreme leader defended Iran’s armed forces and its missile strike against U.S. targets.