After the Pentagon announced that President Trump had ordered Thursday's deadly drone strike on a top Iranian general, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, and before the State Department urged U.S. citizens to "depart Iraq immediately" amid Iran's threats of retaliation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that Trump had "put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions."
The Trump administration targeted "high-level Iranian military officials" and killed Soleimani "without an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against Iran" and "without the consultation of the Congress," Pelosi said in a statement. "The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also wasn't forewarned, CNN's Manu Raju reports, and the "Gang of Eight didn't have a formal briefing." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not put out any statement on Soleimani's killing.
Reaction in Congress was mixed and generally broke down along party lines.
The leading Democratic presidential candidates agreed this is a dangerous escalation. Former Vice President Joe Biden said Trump has "tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox" and brought the U.S. to "the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said while Soleimani "was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans," America's "priority must be to avoid another costly war." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars," echoing comments he made on Face the Nation after Trump's aborted attack on Iran six months ago.
Pete Buttigieg has not yet tweeted about the attack.