Pompeo Tries To Blame Obama For Trump’s Escalation Of War With Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control hearing on June 11, 2019. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
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January 5, 2020 1:05 p.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly pointed fingers at President Barack Obama’s administration on Sunday when asked about President Donald Trump’s decision to have top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani assassinated via drone strike last week.

“Jake, we’re trying to restore deterrence that frankly is a need that results directly from the fact that the previous administration left us in a terrible place with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo told CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper.

The secretary of state said the Obama administration had “appeased Iran,” which he claimed “led to Shia militias with money, Hamas, the [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed by Soleimani himself.”

“This was the place we find ourselves in when we came in,” Pompeo said.

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He accused Obama of being too soft on the Iranians by entering the U.S. into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aka the Iran nuclear deal, from which the Trump administration withdrew as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran.

“This war kicked off when the JCPOA was entered into,” Pompeo told Tapper. “It told the Iranians that they had free rein to develop a Shia Crescent that extended from Yemen to Iraq to Syria and into Lebanon, surrounding our ally Israel, and threatening American lives as well.”

The blame game continued during Pompeo’s other morning show appearances.

“We’re trying to correct for what was the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran,” he said during an interview with “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos. “And we have to-we have to do that. We have to continue to do that, or Americans will be less safe.”

“The risk of terror is increased by appeasement,” Pompeo told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan. “That’s what the Obama-Biden administration did. It’s what President Trump will never do, Margaret.”

“What we are now having to correct for is the enormous economic activity that took place during this Iranian nuclear deal that President Trump rightly got out of in May of 2018,” he said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.

In any case, the secretary of state claimed, the Trump administration isn’t worried about Iranian retaliation–despite the fact that it had warned Congress that such retaliation may come “within weeks.”

“It may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim, that the Iranians make the choice to respond,” Pompeo told Todd. “I hope that they don’t. President Trump has made clear what we will do in response if they do, that our response will be decisive and vigorous, just as it has been so far.”

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