U.S. air strike, killing of Iranian general, prompts social media reaction, with FL lawmakers divided

Baghdad International Airport, where a U.S. air strike Friday led to deaths of Iranian military figures. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Florida lawmakers in Congress are divided following Friday’s U.S. air strike in Iraq that killed Iranian military figures at Baghdad International Airport, with President Donald Trump directing the attack.

Some U.S. House Democrats are saying that the president should have kept Congress in the loop and are concerned about retaliation.

UPDATE: Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott also expressed concerns about retaliatory actions, though he supported Trump’s decision.

Other GOP lawmakers also say that an air strike was the correct course of action. The air strike led to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani and others. (The name of the general has been spelled differently, such as Quissim or Qasem or Qassem, according to news reports.)

The events are trending on social media not only in Florida but around the world, with users posting comments on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Yahoo News in the United Kingdom reported “World War 3 trends.” And the term “World War III” had been used more than 201,000 times by 1 p.m. their time, according to the report.

Yahoo News also reported that on Google, “there was a significant spike in the number of people in the UK searching ‘World War 3’.”

Elsewhere, Reuters reported that oil prices “jumped to the highest level in more than three months on Friday after the U.S. killed a top Iranian military commander in Iraq, sparking fears that escalating conflict in the region could disrupt global oil supplies.”

Meanwhile, with President Trump in Florida, lawmakers in Congress from the state are reacting.

U.S. senators from Florida support Trump

Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, sent numerous tweets about the ongoing tension between the U.S. and Iran.

“I don’t want & have not pushed for war with #Iran. But when an adversary decides to use force to attack our Armed Forces @potus has an affirmative duty to defend against & if possible prevent such attacks.”

“The defensive actions the U.S. has taken against #Iran & its proxies are consistent with clear warnings they have received. They chose to ignore these warnings because they believed @POTUS was constrained from acting by our domestic political divisions. They badly miscalculated.”

“FICTION: Under the Obama #IranDeal everything was calm & under control with #Iran but Trumps maximum pressure campaign has brought us to the brink of war. FACT: Obama deal helped Iran fund the acceleration of its missile program & its support for Shia terrorist proxies.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. Credit: Senator Rick Scott website

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, also a Republican, weighed in on Twitter following the attack, expressing concerns about retaliation.

Scott, who endorsed Trump in his tweet for initiating the air strike, also pointed to the potential of “escalating tensions with Iran” leading to more violence.

Scott said in a written statement via Twitter: “We should all be concerned about the potential for retaliatory strikes… No one wants more war. Enough American blood has been spilled in deserts halfway around the world. But for today, let us remember the lives that were lost at the hands of this ghoul and the justice that was served.”

Scott served in the U.S. Navy.

“President @realDonaldTrump was faced with a choice: continue the Democrats’ preferred strategy with Iran of sending pallets of unmarked bills and asking them nicely to stop killing Americans or take action. He chose the latter.”
What U.S. Reps say

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Pensacola Republican and fierce Trump ally, posted a series of tweets in defense of Trump taking direct military action at a Baghdad airport.

Matt Gaetz in Fox News appearance

Via Twitter: “President @realDonaldTrump has shown amazing restraint with Iran, but he was very clear: if harm came to Americans, he would respond with overwhelming force. That is what occurred here and I support the President’s decision. The world is a better place without Soleimani in it.”

Gaetz also responded to a tweet from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, who suggested Trump “wants war.”

Gaetz: “If @potus *wanted* war w Iran there were plenty of opportunities. He didn’t go 2 war over US drones or foreign tankers. He said if Americans were targeted, heads would roll. Obama drew red lines & ignored them. @realDonaldTrump never will, but he doesn’t crave war, nor do I.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing parts of South Florida. Photo, Wikipedia

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a South Florida Democrat, warned of retaliation against the U.S. for the slayings of the country’s top Iranian military leaders.

Deutch said via Twitter: “We should prepare for potential retaliatory attacks by Iran & its proxies. We must ensure the security of US personnel in the region. The Admin must inform Congress of next steps and clarify legal basis for military action. Reminder that Congress has not authorized war with Iran.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, expressed his concerns on Twitter about the lack of involvement from Congress regarding U.S. military action.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings. Credit: Screenshot Robin Bravender

Hastings said in a written statement posted to his Twitter: “Congress must be called into session to debate and pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), given that since 2001, the United States has been guided by a broadly written AUMF that has frozen Congress out of conversations related to military engagements across the globe. Many Members of Congress, myself included, have demanded that this be debated publicly and with full transparency, because for far too long Congress has not had the opportunity to weigh in on decisions to commit American troops overseas. This cannot continue!”

“This action will only embolden Quds forces, the Iranian guard, Hezbollah, and the popular parliamentary forces that are Shia in Iraq.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of South Florida

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Miami-Dade Democrat, said via Twitter: “Suleimani was a bad actor. But the President just committed an act of war without consulting Congress, putting American soldiers in harm’s way and dangerously circumventing the branches of government.

President Trump must give us strategy information immediately.”

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a Central Florida Democrat, posted a statement on Twitter: “Under the War Power, Congress should debate these issues and make the final decision. Presidents do not have the power to unilaterally enter into a war.”

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a Panama City Republican who served in the U.S. Army, said that “President Trump’s decisive actions in the Middle East sent a clear message to the world that the United States will not let attacks against our country go unpunished.”

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn

“We will continue to work with President Trump to ensure our military has the tools to root out terrorism both at home and abroad,” Dunn said in a written statement.