Donald Trump has used the deaths of three American soldiers in a drone attack on their base in Jordan to attack Joe Biden’s presidency, warning the assault by Iran-backed militia leaves the planet “on the brink of World War 3”.
Three service members were killed and another 25 injured by the attack on the Tower 22 facility near Jordan’s border with Syria over the weekend, marking a further escalation of the simmering tensions in the Middle East.
President Biden responded to the attack by promising retaliation and commented: “Today, America’s heart is heavy.
“These service members embodied the very best of our nation: unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty.
“Unbending in their commitment to our country – risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism.”
But writing to Truth Social on Sunday evening, the Republican presidential contender wasted no time in attempting to make political capital out of the tragedy, insisting that Mr Biden was to blame for the attack.
“Three years ago, Iran was weak, broke, and totally under control. Thanks to my Maximum Pressure policy, the Iranian Regime could barely scrape two dollars together to fund their terrorist proxies,” he said.
“Then Joe Biden came in and gave Iran billions of dollars, which the Regime has used to spread bloodshed and carnage throughout the Middle East.
“This attack would NEVER have happened if I was President, not even a chance. Just like the Iranian-backed Hamas attack on Israel would never have happened, the War in Ukraine would never have happened, and we would right now have Peace throughout the World. Instead, we are on the brink of World War 3.”
Mr Trump continues to pursue the Republican presidential nomination, setting himself up for a rematch of the 2020 election against Mr Biden, but remains mired in legal problems, battling four indictments and 91 felony charges.
On Friday, he was ordered to pay $83.3m in damages to retired magazine columnist E Jean Carroll after he was found liable for sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s and then defaming her in his denials.
By contrast, President Biden has been quietly stewarding the American economy back to pre-pandemic prosperity and setting about making the case for his re-election despite his advanced years.
Campaigning in Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday, the incumbent reminded his audience of Mr Trump’s past comments disrespecting American soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“Donald Trump, when he was commander-in-chief, refused to visit a US cemetery outside of Paris for fallen American soldiers,” the president said, alluding to an aborted visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France on a rainy day in November 2018.
“He referred to those heroes as suckers and losers. How dare he say that! I called them patriots and heroes. The only loser I see is Donald Trump.”
Biden: Donald Trump when he was commander-in-chief refused to visit a U.S. Cemetery outside of Paris for fallen American soldiers. He referred to those heroes as suckers and losers. How dare he say that! I called them patriots and heroes. The only loser I see is Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/SiFBh0DWs7
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 28, 2024
Mr Trump also courted outrage during his time in office for insulting Republican senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain by rebutting the idea that he was a hero for surviving his brutal six-year imprisonment in Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Mr Trump declared in July 2015.
The 45th president did not himself serve in that conflict after receiving several exemptions from the draft when doctors diagnosed him with bone spurs.