The Slatest

Trump Expected to Be Praised for Soleimani Killing, but Majority Say It Made U.S. Less Safe

Trump stands onstage with his arms outstretched in front of an American flag.
President Donald Trump at a “Keep America Great” campaign rally at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

The day after the drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, President Donald Trump was feeling confident. He was so satisfied with how things had turned out that he planned to play golf that morning, according to an extensive New York Times piece that looks at the events surrounding the killing. The president’s advisers, though, cautioned him against doing that, worried it would send the wrong message at a time when the killing had sent shockwaves across the region.

Even though he was advised against playing golf, Trump was still in a good mood. The president fully expected to be applauded for the killing of Soleimani. The reality proved to be quite different, and the president started to become angry when many critics said he had needlessly escalated the simmering conflict with Iran. As a result, he went around to talk to guests at his properties in Florida and was seemingly joyful to receive praise.

Considering this dynamic, the commander in chief was likely none too happy Sunday morning when an ABC News/Ipsos poll was released showing the majority of Americans disapprove of the way Trump is handling Iran. Overall, 56 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran, compared with 43 percent of those who approve. As could be expected, there is a clear partisan split in the answers, with 89 percent of Republicans approving of the way Trump is handling Iran, while 90 percent of Democrats disapprove. That is why it is independents who tip the scales, with 57 percent of them saying they disapprove.

Even though Trump’s administration has said the killing was due to an “imminent threat,” 52 percent of Americans said they felt less safe after the drone strike. Only one in four Americans said the strike that killed Soleimani made them feel more safe. Independents once again track the opinion of the general public as a whole, with 51 percent saying the strike made them feel less safe and 28 percent saying they felt more safe as a result.