NewsCovering Kern County


Local leaders react to Iran-U.S. conflict

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 12:15:59-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As tensions rose between the U.S. and Iran this week, many local elected leaders spoke up about their opinions on the matter.

"The president made it very clear, if you kill an American, we will respond directly, and we did," said GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

McCarthy showed his support for the way the White House has handled the situation. Both McCarthy and the president speaking at different press conferences on Wednesday, describing the decades-old history between the countries.

"Nations have tolerated Iran's destructive and destabilizing behavior in the middle east and beyond," President Trump said.

"From shooting down a drone, from attacking tankers, from killing a U.S citizen, to attacking our embassy," McCarthy said.

Tensions peaked this week after President Trump approved an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Democratic U.S. Senators from California Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein weighing in on the attack, Kamala releasing a statement on Tuesday saying she was deeply concerned by the potential consequences of the president's order and apparent lack of coherent strategy moving forward. Feinstein called the military action a mistake.

That airstrike was eventually followed by an Iranian attack on U.S. facilities in Iraq on Tuesday. No Americans were killed in the attack and officials say the damage was minimal. And now talk of de-escalation, with President Trump saying this morning that Iran appears to be standing down.

Feinstein saying this morning that she's pleased to see that both the United States and Iran are looking to avoid further escalation, and she doesn't believe either nation seeks open conflict.

Harris has not yet publicly addressed the news of a potential stand down. When asked why many democrats in congress condemned the killing of Soleimani, McCarthy had a simple answer.

"Maybe they were too focused on impeachment to see what was happening, what Iran was doing to America throughout the world, he said.

Democratic U.S. Representative T.J. Cox released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying the Trump administration needs to provide a clear plan for de-escalation, while working with Congress to protect national security and allies. He's co-sponsoring a resolution that will reassert congress's ability to authorize military action. It will be voted on Thursday.