Former Vice President and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden mixed up Iran and Iraq during a campaign speech on Tuesday.
Biden, speaking in New York City, was referencing the negative impact President Donald Trump’s assassination of former Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani could have on the stability of the Middle East.
“Our allies and our partners who have troops in harm’s way that are in fact impacted by this decision,” he explained. “Our forces in Iraq and Syria are now focused on protecting themselves, preparing to leave, putting the counter ISIS mission on hold and allowing a deadly terrorist organization room to regroup and reactivate.”
“The Iran parliament,” he continued incorrectly. “The Iran parliament voted to reject all Americans coalition forces in the country, and however you may feel about American military presence in the Middle East, there’s a right way and a wrong way to draw down our troops.” (RELATED: New York Times Spread Fake News On Iraq’s Vote To Expel US Troops – Here’s What You Really Need To Know)
Though Soleimani was an Iranian official, and much of the post-strike fallout has centered around a possible future war between Iran and the United States, it was actually Iraq that voted over the weekend to expel U.S. coalition forces.
Following the vote, the U.S. military sent a letter alerting Iraq of an imminent troop withdrawal, yet Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley quickly cast it as a mistake.
Esper told a reporter that “there’s been no decision to leave Iraq. Period.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper similarly reported that Milley called the letter a “draft” that “should not have been released.”