President Trump delivered a dramatic account of the airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, joked that he doesn’t care if construction projects kill all the rattlesnakes and noted his indifference to the budget during a private dinner with deep-pocketed donors Friday night at Mar-a-Lago, according to audio files obtained by The Washington Post.
Trump, his tone subdued and conversational, explained his motivation for attacking Soleimani and recounted listening to an anonymous military official countdown to the January 3 strike.
The president said nothing about an “imminent attack” on US interests or threats to four US embassies as he previously has to justify the unilateral military strike that escalated tensions in the region and opened debate on presidential war powers.
Instead, he spoke broadly about Soleimani as “the father of the roadside bomb” responsible for “every young, beautiful man or woman who you see walking around with no legs, no arms.” Trump said he heard about two weeks ago that the United States had Soleimani under surveillance and he was “talking about bad stuff.”
“He was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said to applause from the donor crowd.