Claims about Joe Biden opposing actions against terrorist Osama bin Laden and top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani resurfaced on Saturday. While rejecting the Taliban's endorsement for President Donald Trump, the campaign spokesman attacked the Democratic rival over his reactions during the killings of bin Laden and Soleimani.
The Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the President will "always protect American interests," unlike Biden who "opposed taking out" bin Laden and Soleimani. This is not the first time that these claims against Biden have been made. In August, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said Biden opposed the mission to kill bin Laden. However, both the claims are misleading and not true.
Biden on Osama Bin Laden Raid
Following bin Laden's killing in May 2011, then-Vice President Biden recounted he merely suggested then-President Barack Obama "don't go" ahead with the raid and wait for one more day to confirm if bin Laden was in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Elaborating on his initial statements, Biden said in May 2012 that he told Obama — in a private conversation — to "follow your instincts." "I wanted him to take one more day to do one more test to see if he [bin Laden] was there," he said.
The Republicans have held on to Biden's "don't go" statement to say that the former vice president was against the raid, which he never said. Last April, the party also posted a video Biden stating that he opposed the raid. Whereas, the fact remained that he only told Obama to confirm whether bin Laden was present in the compound before carrying out the raid.
Biden on Qassem Soleimani's Killing
Gen. Qassem Soleimani's killing in a U.S. drone strike in January sent shockwaves across Iran, who said would avenge his death. While President Trump said Soleimani was "directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people," the Pentagon alleged that the top Iranian general approved the 2019–20 attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Following Soleimani's death, Biden noted that "no American" would mourn the Iranian official's death and that he "deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against" the U.S. troops and civilians in the region. However, Biden also noted the Trump's administration's plan to deter any attacks from Iran would have the "opposite effect" and that Trump "tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox."
In February, when Biden was asked a Democratic presidential debate whether he would have approved the attack, he said "no" since there not enough evidence of an imminent threat from on Soleimani.
"No, and the reason I wouldn't have ordered the strike is there isn't any evidence yet of an imminent strike that was going to come from him," Biden said.