On Meet the Press on Sunday, overzealous Iran hawk and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave quite the understatement for his expectation of how the conflict with Iran will unfold in the days following the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani early on Friday morning in Baghdad. When host Chuck Todd asked Pompeo if he could “confidently say America is safer today,” he responded “absolutely.” Todd followed up, asking how that perspective could accommodate the administration’s expectation of “retaliation on American citizens.” Pompeo replied by accusing Todd of “concentrating on the second and the moment.”
“It may be that there is a little noise here in the interim and that the Iranians make the choice to respond,” Pompeo said. “I hope that they don’t. President Trump has made clear what we will do in response if they do, then our response will be decisive and vigorous just as it has been so far.”
It’s a statement that can’t age well, considering that the White House warned Congress the day before that it anticipates retaliatory action “within weeks.” If the administration’s own prediction is fulfilled, Pompeo’s “little noise” is going to have quite the echo.
Already, the fallout from the killing of Soleimani is proving too substantial for Trump allies to manage with Sunday talking points: On Sunday, Tehran announced its full withdrawal from any commitments made in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran deal. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal,” a government statement read. “Therefore Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production including enrichment capacity and percentage and number of enriched uranium and research and expansion.” The news came hours after the Iraqi parliament approved a measure to “work toward ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil.”
Even Pompeo suggested that the noise could get a little louder, claiming on Sunday that the administration “will respond with great force and great vigor if the Iranian leadership makes a bad decision.” Trump, for his part, made it deafening, when he referred to his own tweets as notice to Congress of a potential future strike on Iranian targets: