CAPITAL REGION — Federal officials who represent the Capital Region were divided Friday in their reactions to the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander during an operation on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, tweeted her support of the mission that took out Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was widely regarded as the second-most important official in Iran as commander of the Quds Force since 1998.
“Iran Quds Force commander Soleimani was responsible for exporting terrorism around the world & targeting & killing American troops along with tens of thousands of people in the Middle East,” Stefanic tweeted. “I support @realDonaldTrump’s decisive action to respond to Iran’s dangerous belligerence.
“Every American should thank our brave men and women in uniform & our intelligence community who executed this successful mission.”
Democratic lawmakers from the region, by contrast, were uniformly critical of the strike authorized by President Donald Trump.
The region’s two Democratic members of Congress, Rep. Paul Tonko of Amsterdam and Rep. Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, both released statements Friday morning expressing their disapproval of Trump’s decision, which Tonko called “reckless.”
“There is no doubt that Qasem Soleimani was responsible for heinous acts against Americans and our interests, but I am deeply disturbed by the President’s reckless escalation with Iran, which occurred without an Authorization for Use of Military Force or consultation with Congress,” Tonko wrote.
Delgado’s statement was similar, reading, “Moving forward, I have serious questions about how the Administration plans to keep our men and women in uniform and diplomats serving across the region safe, and avoid the march to another costly war in the Middle East.”
Both U.S. senators from New York state, Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kisten Gillibrand, similarly condemned Trump’s action.
Speaking in front of the Senate Friday afternoon, Schumer said that it is important for the president to consult with Congress before making “critical” foreign-policy decisions.
“It is my view that the president does not have the authority for a war in Iran,” Schumer said while questioning his administration’s preparedness for a possible Middle Eastern conflict to follow.
Gillibrand stated that while Soleimani was “directly responsible for the deaths of many Americans and our allies,” Trump’s decision was “impulsive” and “moved us closer to war.”
“Escalating military actions against Iran has put our service members and Americans abroad in grave risk of retaliation by Iran and its proxies,” Gillibrand wrote. “It is troubling that Americans serving our country have been put in harm’s way again because President Trump did not carefully consider the devastating consequences of war with Iran before ordering this strike.”