Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio appeared Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and defended President Donald Trump’s recent killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, calling it an act of self-defense.
CBS host Margaret Brennan opened the conversation by asking if America is safer following the attack against Soleimani: “Overnight, Iran’s military has been readying ballistic missiles across that country, here at home, Homeland Security is also issuing a terrorism bulletin. Do you believe now that America is safer after carrying out the strike with Qasem Soleimani?
Rubio responded by saying that be believes that Iran was on its way to targeting the United States, and that taking action was necessary. “I believe that Iran was on the verge of scaling up the attacks that they were aiming against United States, probably through surrogates in many places, not just in Iraq, but in Syria as well and the United States had to take action in order to prevent that from happening, and to make very clear what would happen if they undertook further attacks.”
Brennan later asked about America’s strategy following the death of Qasem Soleimani, to which Rubio replied, “Here is the strategy: We are there for an anti-ISIS operation and to support the Iraqi government, by the way, at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The Iranians don’t want us there and they’re threatening to kill Americans. The president of the United States has an obligation to protect those Americans.”
He continued, “It is called self-defense. The United States has over 5,000 military personnel in Iraq and of course, additional personnel in Syria who are under direct threat, not just from Iran but from their proxy groups and Iran needs to understand if we are attacked, whether it’s directly by the Iranians, or through these proxy groups, we will respond.” (RELATED: Trump Explains His Decision To Strike Iran’s Qasem Soleimani)
Trump ordered a strike Thursday against Soleimani, killing him and several other targets. Soleimani was allegedly planning attacks across the Middle East that could have killed “hundreds of Americans.”