Washington (AFP) – "Miles in the Sky" cameras, countdown and then boom: US President Donald Trump recounted the final moments of Iran's powerful general Qasem Soleimani in an American drone attack.
Trump handed over the bill on Friday night to Republican Party donors gathered at his Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, for a fundraising dinner, American media said.
CNN broadcast an audio recording on Saturday in which the president gave new details about the January 3 strike at Baghdad airport. He killed the commander of the Revolutionary Force of the Quds Guard and members of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary force with close ties to Iran.
"He should be invincible," said Trump.
Democrats and other critics questioned the timing of the strike, a month before Trump's Senate impeachment trial, and the government's fickle reasons for initiating it.
In the audio released by CNN, Trump did not refer to an "imminent" attack that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Soleimani was planning. There was also no reference to "four embassies" that Trump later claimed were being targeted.
"He was saying bad things about our country. He was saying, 'Let's attack your country. Let's kill your people.' I said, 'Look, how much of this shit do we have to hear? & # 39; "Trump said to his guests.
He then described the scene, conveying the words of military officers, giving him live updates in Washington.
"They said, 'Sir, and this is from cameras that are miles in the sky. They are together, sir. Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No bullshit. They have two minutes and 11 seconds to live. They are in the car, they are in an armored vehicle, sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir … 30 seconds, 10, nine, eight … and then suddenly. They are gone, sir. "
Trump acknowledged that the American attack "rocked the world", but said that Soleimani "deserved to be hit hard" because he was responsible for killing "thousands of Americans" – a figure that contrasts with the one he gave on 8 January. , Trump said the Iranian "wounded and killed thousands of US soldiers".
Iran vowed revenge for the US strike, raising fears of war, and later launched missiles at bases in Iraq, which housed American troops. None were killed.