WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Two Maryland lawmakers decried President Donald Trump’s apparent lack of a long-term plan for the Middle East in the wake of Iran’s retaliatory airstrikes on U.S. troops in Iraq, saying the U.S. has had its influence in Iraq and the region “undermined.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats, made their comments on the same day Trump announced new economic sanctions on Iran in response to the airstrikes.
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In a statement Wednesday morning before the president addressed the nation, Hoyer said while he was “appalled and outraged” by Iran’s actions, Trump’s “rhetoric and threats have not worked.”
“(Trump’s) bluster and taunts have been unsuccessful in dealing with North Korea, Syria, or Iran,” Hoyer said in the statement. “He out to listen to experienced advisors rather than to those who would rush our country into war. The President and his national security team must develop a clear strategy to keep American personnel and assets safe while promoting our interests and securing stability in Iraq and throughout the region.”
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) January 8, 2020
On Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Van Hollen echoed Hoyer’s comments.
“Trump’s decision to rip up the Iran nuclear agreement and his impulsive actions still have us at the brink of war,” Van Hollen wrote. “He is helping Iran achieve its primary goal of undermining our influence in Iraq. No one is safer—and still no strategy or plan to repair the damage.”
Trump’s decision to rip up the Iran nuclear agreement and his impulsive actions still have us at the brink of war. He is helping Iran achieve its primary goal of undermining our influence in Iraq. No one is safer—and still no strategy or plan to repair the damage.
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 8, 2020
During his speech late Wednesday morning, Trump urged the other countries that signed the Iran nuclear deal to back away from the agreement.
Iran “appears to be standing down” after the attack, Trump said. No Americans or Iraqis were injured in the strike.
Tuesday’s airstrike on two military bases used by the U.S. and others in Iraq was a direct response to a U.S. strike on Friday that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.