President Donald Trump first raised the idea of killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani within months of taking office in 2017 and had to be persuaded not to go ahead with the mission on multiple occasions, according to a report.
The Washington Post reported that Trump said he did not know who Soleimani was while he was a presidential candidate for the 2016 election, but five months after he was inaugurated he was discussing plans to take out the leader of Iran's Quds Force.
Over the next two-plus years, members of Trump's national security team talked him out of pulling the trigger several times.
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, according to the Post, opposed killing Soleimani after Trump talked about doing so in the spring of 2017. At the time, the U.S. was heavily engaged with the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. Over the following months, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and then-White House chief of staff John Kelly joined Mattis in walking Trump back from ordering the hit.
With a different team of advisers in place now — the three aforementioned officials have been replaced, as have other key members of Trump's inner circle — Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.
That move also was met with opposition at the White House and the Pentagon, the Post reported, but the military went ahead with the order and carried out the operation.
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