NJ lawmakers offer support for troops after Iran missile attack
Most in New Jersey's congressional delegation temporarily tempered their criticism of President Donald Trump and offered support for U.S. troops apparently targeted by Iran in a missile attack by Iran on Tuesday night.
The Iranians fired a total of 15 missiles, two U.S. officials said. Ten hit Ain al-Asad and one the base in Irbil. Four failed, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about a military operation.
Two Iraqi security officials said at least one of the missiles appeared to have struck a plane at the Ain al-Asad base, igniting a fire. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the attacks, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they had no permission to talk to journalists.
About 70 Norwegian troops also were on the air base but, again, no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces told The Associated Press.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that Iran's ballistic missile strikes were in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike in Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying and drew crowds of Iranians, said to number in the millions, to the streets to mourn him.
President Trump in a tweet said he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.
"We are witnesses a dangerous escalation that is directly threatening Americans and American national security. I strongly condemn the Iranian government's actions and urge its leaders to show restraint," Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, wrote in a statement.
Menendez is a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and said he was briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
New Jersey's senior senator also said that he was looking forward to an all-Senators briefing by Trump on Wednesday, and said the president must come to Congress with a "strategic objective" and seek approval.
Cory Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey and a Democratic primary presidential candidate, in a tweet said he is "praying for the safety of our troops and personnel in Iraq right now."
Rep. Donald Norcross of the 1st Congressional District offered prayers "for our military personnel, diplomats & their families."
"My thoughts are with the men and women of the Joint Base currently serving in the Middle East," 3rd District Rep. Andy Kim wrote on Twitter in a retweet of a column he wrote in the Washington Post. Kim wrote in the column, published Tuesday, that Qasem Soleimani was a "bad guy" but the U.S. attack on him does not make the country safer.
Fifth District Rep. Josh Gottheimer, 6th District Rep. Frank Pallone, 8th District Rt. Albio Sires and 9th District Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. kept their focus on US troops.
"As we monitor the situation and await a full briefing, tonight I’m praying for the brave American men and women in harm’s way, and thinking about their families. There is no commitment greater than the one we have to those who serve and protect our nation," Gottheimer wrote on Twitter.
"Our thoughts are with our brave troops overseas tonight in harm’s way. We must do all that we can to prevent escalation of conflict with Iran," Pallone wrote.
"I am closely monitoring the developing situation in Iraq and am praying for the safety of our service members, civil servants, and innocent civilians," Sires wrote.
"While we wait for details I’m thinking of and praying for our military women and men and personnel in harms way. Keep them in your thoughts tonight," Pascrell tweeted.
Most members of New Jersey's congressional delegation — other than Republican Chris Smith of the 4th District and Jeff Van Drew of the 2nd District, who recently left the Democratic Party for the GOP — are Democrats. The Republicans had not yet issued any statements via social media as of early Wednesday morning, nor had Democrats Tom Malinowski of the 7th District, Donald Payne of the 10th District, Mikie Sherill of the 11th District or Bonnie Watson Coleman of the 12th District.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report