Feb 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg: "No evidence that [killing Soleimani] made our country safer"

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg both stated they would have handled the drone strike on Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani differently than President Trump.

The big picture: Trump is likely to parade the killing of Soleimani as one of his signature national security accomplishments in the 2020 campaign. ABC News' David Muir pointed out previous administrations knew of Soleimani's threat but never ordered a strike.

What Buttigieg is saying:

"In the situation that we saw with President Trump's decision, there is no evidence that [killing Soleimani] made our country safer."

What Sanders is saying:

"You're opening the door to international anarchy. What we have got to do, which Trump does not understand, is strengthen the State Department in our diplomatic capabilities, not just the military. ... Let us sit down and work out our differences through debate and discussion at the U.N., not through war and more war and expenditures of trillions of dollars and the loss of god knows how many lives."

Worth noting: Sanders also named some of the "very bad leaders" whom Trump has worked with: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders commented on President Trump's decision to strike Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, though neither say they would or wouldn't have taken the same action.

Go deeper

No "imminent" threat cited in White House letter on killing Qasem Soleimani

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran on Jan. 10. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump authorized killing top Iranian general Qasem Solemani in response to "an escalating series" of Iran-backed attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East in previous months and to deter future Iranian attacks, the White House asserted to Congress on Friday.

Why it matters: The official reason for killing Soleimani contradicts the administration's original claim that Trump authorized the strike to disrupt an "imminent" attack against Americans in the Middle East.

4 key takeaways from the Democratic debate in New Hampshire

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The attacks grew more direct and the fault lines more defined Friday night at the eighth Democratic debate, as candidates looked to either capitalize on their Iowa momentum or stop the bleeding four days before New Hampshire primary.

Why it matters: Pete Buttigieg has the chance to make a huge statement if he can pull off a victory in New Hampshire, a state that his fellow Iowa frontrunner Bernie Sanders won in a landslide in 2016. Joe Biden, meanwhile, seemed ready to concede at the outset of the debate: "I took a hit in Iowa, and I’ll probably take one here."

Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for re-election. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said, "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected."