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Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Pentagon's confirmation Thursday night that Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander and one of the regime's most powerful figures, was killed in airstrike ordered by President Trump set off immediate shock waves throughout Washington.

The big picture: Republican hawks like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) celebrated the assassination of a designated terrorist whose activities in the Middle East have led to the deaths of hundreds of U.S. service members. Democrats, meanwhile, warned of the potentially destabilizing effects of the operation and demanded answers about the use of force without congressional authorization.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.): "Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question. The question is this — as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?"
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): "Qassem Soleimani masterminded Iran’s reign of terror for decades, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Tonight, he got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice."
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): "Trump Admin owes a full explanation of airstrike reports—all the facts—to Congress&the American people. The present authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades. My immediate concern is for our brave Americans serving in harm’s way."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) "Wow - the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically. Major blow to Iranian regime that has American blood on its hands. Soleimani was one of the most ruthless and vicious members of the Ayatollah's regime. He had American blood on his hands. I appreciate President Trump's bold action against Iranian aggression. To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "This is very simple: General Soleimani is dead because he was an evil bastard who murdered Americans. The President made the brave and right call, and Americans should be proud of our servicemembers who got the job done. Tehran is on edge - the mullahs have already slaughtered at least a thousand innocent Iranians - and before they lash out further they should know that the U.S. military can bring any and all of these IRGC butchers to their knees."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.): "The end of Qasem Soleimani is welcome and long-overdue justice for the thousands of Americans killed or wounded by his Iranian-controlled forces across the Middle East, and for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Iraqi Sunnis ethnically cleansed by his militias."
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.): "Qassem Soleimani was an evil and deadly terrorist with the blood of thousands, including hundreds of Americans, on his hands. President Trump was right to order decisive action to kill Soleimani to prevent further attacks and defend American lives and interests."

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper: U.S. kills top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
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