It's what the AP calls "one of the greatest tests" of Donald Trump's presidency: how to respond to Iran's decision to fire ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases where US troops are present. And on Wednesday morning, he took to the airwaves from the White House's Grand Foyer to address the nation on what has transpired since his decision to take out Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Standout lines:
- "As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. Good morning."
- "I'm pleased to inform you the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime."
- "Iran appears to be standing down; this is a good thing for all parties concerned and for the world."
- "For far too long, all the way to 1979 to be exact, nations have tolerated Iran's destructive behavior. Those days are over."
- "Last week we took action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives. As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities. ... He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously murdered thousands of US troops ... In recent days he was planning new attacks on American targets but we stopped him. Soleimani's hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago."
- Trump said the US will immediately impose additional sanctions on the regime "until Iran changes its behavior," citing its seizure of ships and the shooting down of US drones.
- "Today I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process. Over the last three years under my leadership ... America has achieved energy independence ... these are accomplishments nobody thought possible. ... We do not need Middle East oil. ... US armed forces are stronger than ever before ... under construction are many hypersonic missiles ... We do not want to use it. American strength both military and economic is the best deterrent."
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