Amid increased tensions between the United States and Iran, members of the U.S. Congress have expressed mixed reactions to how the administration has been handling the situation, with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday warning of an “overwhelming military response” if Tehran attacks American interests, while U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) compared U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Iran to a “schoolyard bully.”
“The fault lies with the Iranians, not the United States or any other nation. If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response,” tweeted Graham, who also mentioned he received a briefing on the matter from U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. “Stand firm Mr. President.”
Just received a briefing from National Security Advisor Bolton about escalating tensions with Iran.
It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 20, 2019
“Trump, the schoolyard bully, is threatening to take us into another war in the Middle East. Just what we need!” tweeted Sanders, who is running for president next year, on Monday in response Trump tweeting on Sunday that war would be “the official end of Iran.”
Trump, the schoolyard bully, is threatening to take us into another war in the Middle East. Just what we need! But it will not be Trump’s or his billionaire friend’s kids and grandkids who fight and die in that war. It will be working-class kids. No war with Iran! https://t.co/b32MYKtd4P
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 20, 2019
“Iran knows if they provoke the United States, they’re going to get their faces crushed in,” U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told Fox News on Thursday.
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) May 16, 2019
In addition to Trump, numerous Democrats are blaming the people surrounding the president, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), also running for president in 2020, told ABC News on Sunday that Bolton “pushed America into Iraq under a weak commander-in-chief in George W. Bush and he’s pushing America into Iran today. And we have the same situation with a commander-in-chief who dodged his own generation’s war.”
“This president has surrounded himself with people—Pompeo and Bolton, in particular—who believe that getting tough on a military basis with Iran is in our best interest. I do not,” said U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
Last week, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the United States could win a war with Iran in “two strikes.”
“Two strikes,” he told Margaret Hoover of PBS’s “Firing Line.” “The first strike and the last strike.”
Senator @TomCottonAR tells Firing Line if it comes to war with Iran, he is confident the United States would win, and would win swiftly. “Two strikes, the first strike and the last strike,” says the Senator. pic.twitter.com/twTdrFTwHu
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) May 14, 2019
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said on Wednesday, “It’s close to inconceivable that the president, the administration would consider a war with Iran.”
Nonetheless, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who is running for president next year, told Fox News on Friday that “what is important that the American people know is a war with Iran would make the war in Iraq look like a cakewalk.”
“While Trump and others in his administration are saying they don’t want to go to war with Iran, I hear them saying that more now that they are getting a lot of pushback from our allies like those in the U.K., when in fact the actions of the administration have been telling us another story,” she continued. “It is pushing us closer and closer to the process of a war with Iran.”