In the newest iteration of the story from NBC News, we learn that after Iran shot down a U.S. drone this summer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, Trump’s then-national security adviser, tried to persuade Donald Trump to kill the Iranian terrorist leader. Trump, instinctively uneasy about escalating Middle East conflict, resisted the pressure. According to “current and former senior administration officials,” NBC News states, the president instead drew a red line: He would authorize the killing of Soleimani only “if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American.”
Trump even tweeted, warning the mullahs that further violence would have repercussions.
Well, after subsequent escalations by Iran, and proxies attacked the United States embassy and murdered an American contractor, Trump followed through on his threat to take out Soleimani. Apparently Ali Khamenei did not take Trump literally or seriously.
The big problem with the NBC News account of the killing is that it conflicts almost entirely with the premise and tone of much of the earlier coverage, most notably an adjective-laden New York Times story published the day after Soleimani was killed, which claimed that Trump’s decision was extreme and impulsive.