Congressman Peter King speaks outside his home on Nov. 11 in Seaford.

Congressman Peter King speaks outside his home on Nov. 11 in Seaford. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island's congressional delegation reacted Friday to the U.S. airstrike that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani.

The representatives commented Friday in Cedarhurst while gathered to denounce a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the region.   

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford): “I support the president’s action. Soleimani is an evil person and I do believe [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo that an attack was imminent. It was important this was taken today. There are Iranian operatives in this country. They have been here for years. The NYPD caught a number of them several years ago. We have to really be on guard. And the American people need to know that. No struggle like this is easy. I support what the president did but we need to keep in mind that there will be retaliatory actions and it could happen in a place like New York.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans): “As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, one thing we can agree upon is Soleimani was a bad guy. You’re not going to hear a difference on that between Democrats and Republicans. What I want to know is what the strategy was, and the information that led to it and what we are doing after. What should the policy be? That’s a job I have as a member of the foreign affairs committee. I need to have some accurate knowledge before I can accurately speak on what I think should or should not happen.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City): "We are returning to Washington on Tuesday. I hope the Congress is going to be briefed on the imminent nature of the threat. There is no question this individual was responsible for the attack on the embassy. There is no question about it. But it’s important that Congress be appraised of why this step was taken at the time it was. Because it’s important for all of us to be informed when major action like this is taken.”

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove): “Soleimani has American blood on his hands. He clearly was orchestrating future attacks. He’s done past attacks. He’s a bad, bad actor. Our job has got to be how do we eliminate terrorists without making more terrorists in the process? And so we need to be sure the president has a strategy going forward and he has to coordinate with the Congress.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley): “Because of Qassem Soleimani there are at least 500-600 U.S. soldiers that have been killed. … I agree with my colleagues that once we return to D.C. that we have the briefings where we get to ask our questions and we get to hear from the secretary of state, secretary of defense, director of national intelligence — that’s important. Oversight is an important role we have. But I have to tell you as I wake up this morning my first thought are from the trips I have taken to Walter Reed. My first thought are those Gold Star families who have buried their loved ones because of Qassem Soleimani. And I can’t help but to wake up this morning feeling somewhat uplifted to know that Qassem Soleimani is no longer on this Earth because he absolutely was planning out future attacks against U.S. diplomats and U.S. service members. We have to be smart in how we move forward."

Earlier in the day, King and Zeldin tweeted support for the airstrike.

King's account, referencing President Donald Trump’s government Twitter handle, tweeted: “Vital that Americans unite behind @POTUS Trump decision to attack and kill Iranian terrorist Soleimani. No time for political sniping.”

Zeldin's account tweeted an icon of an American flag: “The days of rolling US senior leaders at the negotiating table & killing US soldiers on the battlefield w/impunity are over. If reports are true & Iran Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani has been killed, this would be very necessary justice served.”

With Matthew Chayes

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