Graham, Scott praise Trump’s response to Iran strike

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott released statements of support Wednesday after President Donald Trump addressed the nation about Tuesday night’s Iranian air strike that appeared to target U.S. military bases in Iraq.

Trump, speaking from the White House Wednesday morning, said the American people should be “extremely grateful and happy” that no Americans were harmed when Iran launched ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops early Wednesday.

Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down” and is crediting an early warning system “that worked very well" for the fact that no Americans or Iraqis were killed.

Trump said the U.S. will immediately impose new sanctions on Iran in response to its missile attacks. He also said he would ask NATO to become more involved in the Middle East. That seems to indicate continued U.S. involvement in the region despite Trump's desire to withdraw troops from what he calls “endless wars.”

At the same time, Trump says the United State is “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

Graham called Trump’s remarks about the challenges the U.S. faces with Iran a “homerun speech.”

“What President Trump is seeking from Iran is to end 40 years of tyranny, to stop them from being a state sponsor of terrorism, and to abandon their nuclear weapons program once and for all,” Graham said in a statement. “All Americans should support President Trump’s efforts to resolve the threat from Iran peacefully and fully understand the Maximum Pressure campaign must continue with a credible military component.”

Earlier, Sen. Tim Scott also released a statement following Trump’s speech, saying that for far too long, the U.S. allowed Iran to “escalate their provocations on our armed forces and allies without repercussion,” adding that “those days are over.”

“Iran’s belligerent aggression is well-documented and their continued actions proved they were not going to back down," Scott said in the statement. "I commend President Trump, as well as our Defense Department, National Security Council, and intelligence community for their decisive and calculated actions to keep Americans safe.”

The launch was Tehran’s most brazen direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and came days after Trump authorized the targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Iran had pledged to retaliate, bringing the two countries closer to the brink of war.

Trump added, “We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!”

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.