Trump in Palm Beach: Iran strike details said to be told to donors at Mar-a-Lago
President Trump is at his West Palm Beach golf club as media reports reveal that he disclosed “minute-by-minute detail” of the Jan. 3 strike that killed Iran’s top military commander during a campaign fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago Friday night.
The president’s motorcade arrived at Trump International Golf Club just before 10 a.m. Earlier, a tweet by the president touted a sharp rise in new housing starts across the country.
“Tremendous surge in new housing construction in December, 16.9%, biggest in many years!” the social media missive said.
According to CNN, on Friday evening the president gave a timeline-like rundown of the airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani near the Baghdad airport. The airstrike took place while the president was in Palm Beach for the New Year’s holiday.
The revelations came in a speech to donors at Mar-a-Lago, CNN said. White House officials described the event as sponsored by Trump Victory, which “is a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.”
Trump Victory said 100 people attended the event, which it claimed raised $10 million.
The CNN report said Trump:
— Trump said he watched real time as Soleimani arrived in Baghdad and proceeding to exit the airport.
— The president recounted listening to U.S. military officials heading the operation describe step-by-step to him what was happening as captured from cameras high above.
— The report quoted Trump as saying: “Then all of a sudden, boom. They're gone, sir. Cutting off.” Presumably that was the moment a missile hit Soleimani’s vehicle, killing him and several others.
— The president did not shed light on what administration officials said was an "imminent threat" posed by Soleimani and Iranians or their surrogates to U.S. personnel or facilities.
Click here to read the full CNN story.
The airstrike that “terminated” Soleimani, as Trump said in an address from a Mar-a-Lago ballroom that day, brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war.
Iran retaliated within a week by launching ballistic missiles at U.S. military forces in Iraq. At about the same time, Iranian forces shot down a Ukraine International Airlines, killing the 176 people on board.
After first denying any involvement in the crash of the airliner, Iranian officials ultimately said their forces had shot it down saying that it happened by mistake.
The airstrike against Soleimani was not the only international military encounter that has taken place while during one of the president’s stays at the Southern White House.
In April 2017, the president ordered a missile strike against Syrian forces while he was at Mar-a-Lago preparing for a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the attack, dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired at an airbase controlled by the Syrian government. The attack was in response to an earlier Syrian chemical attack against rebel forces in the country.
Two months earlier, the president and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their aides huddled in a Mar-a-Lago dining room as news broke of a North Korean missile test.