Jan 8, 2020

What they're saying: 2020 Democrats react to Iran attack

Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden at the November Democratic debate in Atlanta. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidates expressed support for American troops Tuesday following Iranian strikes on two bases in Iraq shared with the U.S., as several called for a de-escalation in tensions.

What they're saying: Former Vice President Joe Biden offered prayers to troops before saying at a Philadelphia campaign event the "chaos that's ensuing" in Iraq and Iran was "predictable," per a pool report.

  • "I just pray to God as [President Trump] goes through what’s happening ... that he's listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case," he said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "Tonight, my prayers are with our service members, our diplomats and personnel serving in Iraq, and their families — and all the people in the region. This is a reminder why we need to de-escalate tension in the Middle East. The American people do not want a war with Iran."

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, an Afghanistan war veteran, tweeted, "Tonight, Americans in Iraq are under fire. My prayers are with them, their loved ones, and their families."

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, said on Twitter Iran's attacks brought back memories of her 2005 deployment, as she offered prayers to U.S. troops and their families.

"Unimaginable suffering awaits if this escalation continues. ... Politicians & pundits talk tough on TV pushing for Iran War. But most have no idea what it means to serve in harm's way, nor do they understand what military moms, dads, husbands, wives, & children go thru as their loved one is sent overseas #NoWarWithIran #IranAttacks #IranvsUSA"
— Tulsi Gabbard, Twitter

Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted, "As we await the casualty assessment from tonight’s attacks, it is vital that we take this moment to consider any response. A full-blown war with Iran is not in the national security interest of the U.S. or allies in the region. We must work with our allies to de-escalate the situation while ensuring the safety of Americans in the region."

Sen. Cory Booker tweeted, "Praying for the safety of our troops and personnel in Iraq right now. ... We are quickly heading to a point of no return in the region. We must use diplomacy to deescalate and keep Americans safe at home and abroad."

Businessman Andrew Yang tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with our brave men and women serving in Iraq and keeping our country safe — may they be safe and secure and see their families again."

Sen. Michael Bennet tweeted, "American servicemembers are under attack. I'm ... thinking of the brave men and women serving in our military tonight."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick tweeted, "Americans and our allies are under fire tonight. Let us keep them and their families in our prayers."

Go deeper: Trump says "all is well" after Iranian strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops

Go deeper

Signs of respite with Iran despite Trump's red line

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

After Iran's launch of more than a dozen ballistic missiles last night at U.S. forces in Iraq, an initial search found zero American casualties, U.S. officials said.

Why it matters: Experts see that aftermath as a best-case scenario for de-escalation despite the fact that President Trump drew the brightest red line of his presidency when he tweeted a warning Saturday to Iran about hitting "American assets."

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

Trump says "all is well" after Iranian strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops

Iranian mourners carry a picture of Khamenei (R) and Soleimani. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday night "all is well" following the Iranian strikes on two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops are stationed.

Why it matters: This is the closest the current U.S.-Iran standoff has come to war, with Iran retaliating directly against the U.S. for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties at the bases, and Trump has appeared to signal restraint.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020

Iraqi PM asks Pompeo to send delegation to plan U.S. troop withdrawal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in January 2019. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday that the U.S. should send delegates to Iraq in order to determine the best way to withdraw all of its troops there, the AP reports.

The big picture: While tensions between the U.S. and Iran seem to be lessening, Abul-Mahdi is standing his ground and backing the Iraqi parliament's non-binding resolution to expel all U.S. troops from the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 10, 2020