Minnesota Democrats slam President Trump for Iran strategy

Minnesota Democrats on Friday accused President Donald Trump of putting the U.S. on a path toward war with Iran, while Republicans were silent about the president’s strategy.

Tensions have been rising between the two countries since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in May. This week, Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone that it said violated its airspace. 

President Trump said Friday he had halted retaliatory airstrikes because of the potential for civilians to die. The U.S. has not yet responded militarily to the drone incident.

"We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights (sic) when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it…not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” the president tweeted.

The president said he was in “no hurry” and promoted the U.S. military’s power. 

Some Republicans have advocated for a strong U.S. response to the drone strike, though none of the three GOP members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation responded when FOX 9 asked for comment about the president’s strategy.

Several Minnesota Democrats have condemned the president over the Iran situation. U.S. Sen. Tina Smith said Friday the administration’s strategy was “very, very dangerous.”

“I am glad that the president apparently stepped back, and it is now time to recommit ourselves to the kind of negotiation and talking that would help us avoid what could be an extremely dangerous and destructive war,” Smith said during an event in Minneapolis.

U.S. Reps. Dean Phillips and Betty McCollum said Congress should assert itself to ensure no offensive military action is taken without congressional approval. 

“I am growing increasingly concerned about the potential for conflict with Iran and the likelihood of miscalculations by the leaders of both countries,” Phillips said in an emailed statement.

In her own statement, McCollum said the president was “stumbling headfirst” into a potential war.

“This White House has no coherent policy toward Iran, and all reasonable and responsible diplomatic efforts have been abandoned and replaced with bluster, bravado, and threats,” she said.

Through a spokesman, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar declined to comment about the called-off airstrikes, but tweeted that a war with Iran would be a “catastrophe.”

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig prefers a diplomatic – not military – approach to the crisis, she said in an emailed statement.

Republican U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber did not respond to requests made with their offices.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic presidential candidate who has said she would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal if elected, did not respond to a request for comment through her office.