- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2020

President Trump boasted Tuesday he killed the “number-one terrorist in the world,” recounting the raid that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Hollywood-worthy fashion and calling the Quds force leader a “son of a b——” who killed U.S. soldiers and wanted more blood.

“But we stopped them cold,” he told the Milwaukee crowd. “Frankly, they already started the attack … that was already started.”

Mr. Trump was referring to a previous incursion on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

“I said to the generals, ‘Get there now, we don’t want to have another Benghazi,’” Mr. Trump said, referring to the deadly raid on a Libyan consulate during Present Obama’s tenure.

Mr. Trump said he prodded his military leaders to send brand-new, top of the line helicopters to the scene immediately.

Members of Congress have sparred with the Trump administration over its account of the events and intelligence that led to the Jan. 3 drone attack on Soleimani outside of Baghdad.

They say the intelligence has been inconsistent and belied early claims of an “imminent” threat to U.S. interests.

Mr. Trump said he believed Soleimani was planning to hit four U.S. embassies, though Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on the Sunday talks shows he didn’t see intelligence outlining that scenario.

Mr. Trump said he deserves credit for taking out a general who’s been linked to the death of American troops and others in the region. He said many U.S. soldiers don’t have arms and legs because of Soleimani.

“The Democrats are outraged we killed this terrorist monster, even though this monster was behind hundreds and hundreds of deaths,” Mr. Trump said.

He also pointed to Iranian protesters who are resisting their own regime after it had to acknowledge it unintentionally downed a Ukrainian passenger plane.

“The protesters are on our side,” Mr. Trump said. “First time ever.”

Mr. Trump spoke in defiant terms about his Middle East policy.

He ridiculed the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for its handling of Benghazi, prompting a brief “lock her up” chant in the crowd.

And he took credit for moving U.S. soldiers to oil fields in Syria instead of the country’s northern border — a decision that sparked widespread criticism as Turkish forces overran American-allied Kurdish fighters.

Mr. Trump complained that the press didn’t tell the full story.

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