Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that the question of whether Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the U.S. when Trump ordered his assassination was irrelevant "because of his horrible past." (Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

After Days of Claiming Soleimani Posed "Imminent" Threat to US, Trump Finally Declares "It Doesn't Really Matter"

"If this is the case, then nothing matters."

Julia Conley

After NBC News reported that President Donald Trump approved the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani last June—undercutting administration claims that Soleimani was targeted for a drone strike because of an immediate threat—the president claimed his rationale for unilaterally killing a foreign leader was irrelevant if he deemed the assassination necessary.

Trump concluded several tweets about his impeachment, the 2020 presidential campaign, and other topics by reiterating his administration's claim that Soleimani posed an "imminent" threat to the U.S., but added that "it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past."

"In one tweet, Trump is blowing apart his administration's rationale for killing Soleimani," tweeted Washington Post national intelligence reporter Shane Harris.

Administration officials have spent more than a week making various claims about the danger Soleimani posed, including that he was plotting to bomb U.S. embassies—a claim with Defense Secretary Mark Esper wouldn't confirm on record Sunday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly mocked reports from Iraq's prime minister that Soleimani was in Baghdad at the time of his killing to discuss easing tensions with Saudi Arabia. 

But a White House briefing last week in which officials shared intelligence about so-called "imminent" threats posed by Soleimani was condemned as "insulting" and "utterly unconvincing" by members of Trump's own party.

On social media, some observers wrote that Trump's phrasing of his tweet on Monday could be applied to many of his decisions and his treatment of the truth.

"It doesn't really matter," tweeted MSNBC political analyst Richard Stengel. "He's not saying that just about Soleimani, but about the truth. Those who lie for Trump are then undercut by him."

"If this is the case, then nothing matters," added anti-Trump activist Andrew Wortman. "He can assassinate anyone anywhere and bring us to the brink of war for no reason and face no accountability."

The unraveling of the White House narrative about Soleimani's assassination was reminiscent of Trump's treatment of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. After spending weeks assuring the public that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with the killing, the president finally told reporters, "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't... In any case, our relationship is with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

A recent USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 52% of respondents view the killing of Soleimani as "reckless."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Bush, Pressley, and Omar Sleep Outside Capitol to Demand Extension of Eviction Moratorium

Rep. Cori Bush, who was formerly unhoused, slammed her Democratic colleagues who "chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes."

Jake Johnson ·


As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Issue Dire Warning as House Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Dies

"If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities, needlessly contributing to more death and destruction."

Brett Wilkins ·


Citing Donziger Case, Dems Raise Alarm About Use of Private Prosecutors in Federal Court

Private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges, said a pair of senators, "are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system."

Jessica Corbett ·


'About Damn Time': DOJ Says Treasury Department Must Give Trump's Tax Returns to Congress

"This case is now bigger even than Donald Trump's crimes. Neither the courts, nor the machinery of our government, exist to bodyguard a corrupt private citizen from transparency."

Jake Johnson ·