‘Wait, Wait, Wait’: GOP Rep. Mike Waltz Spars With CNN Host Who Says Trump Didn’t Deter Iranian Aggression

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Republican Florida Rep. Mike Waltz sparred with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday after Keilar argued that former President Donald Trump failed to deter Iranian aggression against U.S. forces.

Three U.S. servicemembers were killed and at least 34 injured after an explosive-laden drone crashed near the living quarters of a base in Jordan.

President Joe Biden blamed Iranian-backed militant groups for the attack, which remains under investigation, and vowed to retaliate.

A loose coalition of Iran-backed militants claimed responsibility as a “continuation of our approach to resisting the American occupation forces in Iraq and the region,” according to The New York Times.

During his CNN appearance, Waltz argued that Iran does not believe the administration will “hit back in a way that they care about.”

“I know you’re critical of President O’Biden [sic], that you think he’s emboldening Iran here, but how should the U.S. respond when even former President Trump — I mean, you said peace broke out, but his very direct and controversial action like taking out Soleimani did not stop the deadly attacks on U.S. troops,” Keilar said, referring to the Trump-ordered 2020 drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

“So how can the U.S. thread the needle –” she continued before Waltz cut her off.

“Wait, wait, wait,” the third-term congressman interjected. “Brianna, I mean, I’m sorry, we had, our ships were attacked, Saudi Aramco was attacked, one of our drones was shot down and then it was once they actually stormed our embassy and killed an American, President Trump gave the order to take out Iran’s field general that was plotting more attacks and then, and then what happened?”

“Sir, I hear you. I’m talking — Listen, I let you speak. No, no. I let you speak–” Keilar said, attempting to wrest back control of the conversation.

“No, they launched some missiles and that was it. So show me the servicemember or the base that was attacked, post-Soleimani strike,” Waltz said. “Who died post-Soleimani strike? I’m sorry. Deterrence was restored post-Soleimani strike.” (RELATED: Iran Claims Oct. 7 Terrorist Attacks Were Revenge For Soleimani’s Death)

“March 2020, U.S. service members died,” Keilar responded, referring to an Iran-backed militia’s attack on Iraq’s Camp Taji base, which killed two U.S. servicemembers.

She went on to mention Iran’s retaliatory strike on the Ayn al-Asad airbase, which resulted in zero fatalities but left some 110 U.S. servicemembers with traumatic brain injuries.

“You had an attack in Kirkuk[, Iraq,] in February which looked like it might have been Iran,” she continued, citing an attack that resulted in no casualties, “but the one in March was determined that it very likely was [Iran], or that it was, and you had servicemembers, two Americans and one Brit who were killed.”

Keilar then asked again how the U.S. could deter Iranian proxies if strikes, like the killing of Soleimani, did not work.

Waltz argued that there is a financial component to deterrence and that at the end of Trump’s first term, Iran’s foreign currency reserves were at $4 billion but are now currently over $70 billion and that Iran’s oil exports have rebounded. Waltz then called on the Biden administration to step up financial pressure against Iran.