President Trump’s attention turned back to his poll numbers today, as he arrived at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
‘95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party. Thank you!’ Trump tweeted as he headed to the golf course.
It wasn’t immediately clear what survey he was referring to.
Trump has yet to respond to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chilling warning that ‘everyone will take revenge’ for the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, killed in a Trump-ordered drone strike in Iraq Thursday.
Rouhani made the pledge to Rouhani’s daughters during a Saturday visit.
‘Who is going to avenge my father’s blood?’ one of Soleimani’s two daughters asked the Iranian president, as she sobbed.
Rouhani responded by saying, ‘everyone will take revenge’ and ‘we will, we will avenge his blood, you don’t worry.’
‘The Americans did not realize what a grave mistake they have made,’ he continued. ‘They will suffer the consequences of such criminal measures not only today, but also throughout the years to come,’ Rouhani added. ‘The crime committed by the U.S. will go down in history as one of their unforgettable crimes against the Iranian nation.’
After Thursday’s attack, Trump first responded by simply posting a picture of an American flag to his Twitter account, before anyone had taken responsibility for the drone assault outside Baghdad’s airport.
Members of the congressional Gang of Eight — the top congressional leaders in each party — were not notified ahead of the strike, a move that irked Democrats in particular.
“At a time like this you need clarity,” said Dave Lapan, a former spokesman for the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security. “Instead of clear messaging and leadership from the top, we haven’t seen that. And this is a very dangerous period of time to have that kind of uncertainty and confusion still around.”
On Wall Street, the stock market fell as oil prices jumped after the news of the general’s death: The price of Brent oil, the international benchmark, surged in the early hours of Hong Kong trading to nearly $70 a barrel — an increase of $3.
The immediate increase in the price of oil was among the largest since an attack on a critical Saudi oil installation in September that temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s supply.
“The messaging that’s coming out of the administration is highlighting the potential for de-escalation, but truthfully no one in the administration thinks that’s actually what is going to happen,” said Kirsten Fontenrose, director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative who previously worked on Gulf affairs for Trump’s National Security Council.
“None of the planning is focused on de-escalation, but they feel like they need to message on that to make it clear they’re open to those options so that were there any incentive on Iran’s part to seek to de-escalate, the U.S. would be open to it,” she continued. “Again, no one thinks that’s what they’re going to choose at this point.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official who focused on Iran-backed militias in Iraq, said Friday that Iran could retaliate in many ways, including attacks against U.S. diplomats and service members, attacks on U.S. allies and partners in the region or targeted attacks in the West.
“What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict? The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means,” she said in a statement. “It is critical that the administration has thought out the moves and counter-moves this attack will precipitate, and is prepared to protect our diplomats, service members, and citizens serving overseas.”