Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the rounds on Sunday, appearing on several news shows to defend and explain the rationale behind the Trump administration's decision to launch an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani this week. Here are three moments that stand out:
1. President Trump caused a furor Saturday when he tweeted that sites culturally important to Iran could be targeted in retaliatory attacks, suggesting that he was willing to ignore the Geneva Convention. Pompeo told ABC's George Stephanopoulos he wanted to assure the American people that any Iranian target they strike will be lawful.
"Why is the president threatening Iran with war crimes?" @GStephanopoulos asks Pompeo as Trump tweets cultural sites in Iran could be targeted.
Pompeo: "We'll behave lawfully"
Stephanopoulos: Is Trump's tweet inaccurate?
Pompeo: Targets will be "lawful" https://t.co/A4OkoecSHW pic.twitter.com/2Jp2IyrGNV
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 5, 2020
2. Pompeo told NBC's Chuck Todd that the U.S. is "definitely safer" after the death of Soleimani, arguing that people who are worried about Iran's retaliation are focusing too much on the current moment. The Trump administration, he said, is focused on reducing the long-term risk.
WATCH: @chucktodd follows up with @SecPompeo on his statement that America is "absolutely" safer today after the killing of Soleimani.
"We do expect retaliation on American citizens, correct?"
"It may be that there's a little noise here in the interim." #MTP #IfItsSunday pic.twitter.com/UsGSeTJm2r
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 5, 2020
3. Despite the fact that the U.S. is sending more troops over to the Middle East after recent events and maintaining "maximum pressure" on Iran, Pompeo said the Trump administration is still committed to reducing the military's footprint in the region, as the president has promised in the past.
President Trump has pursued a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. Has the strategy worked? Or has Iran become more aggressive? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacts on FOX News Sunday: "The strategy is working. We are gonna stay the course." #FNS #foxnews pic.twitter.com/v5Hf9Fv6SL
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) January 5, 2020
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