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Donald Trump uses Wisconsin rally to defend Iran policy

World News | Published:

The president called Iranian General Qassem Soleimani a “son of a bitch” who was responsible for “hundreds and hundreds of deaths”.

US President Donald Trump has again used a supporter rally to defend his decision to kill a top Iranian general while criticising Democrats as weak on national security.

In front of a crowd of thousands in Milwaukee, Mr Trump took on the leading Democratic candidates – including Vermont senator Bernie Sanders – who were engaged in their final debate before primary voting commenced.

“Bernie and the radical left cannot protect your family, nor can they protect our country,” the president told supporters at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

Yet Mr Trump also defended Mr Sanders as he weighed in on the ongoing he-said, she-said spat between Mr Sanders and fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren.

Ms Warren claims Mr Sanders told her during a private meeting that he does not believe a woman can win the White House – a charge Mr Sanders vehemently denies.

“I don’t believe that Bernie said that. I really don’t … it’s not the kind of thing he’d say,” Mr Trump said.

He also criticised former vice president Joe Biden’s tendency to mix up locations, including recently confusing Iran with Iraq.

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“When you do that you can’t really recover,” Mr Trump said.

Winning back Wisconsin is a key part of the Democrats’ 2020 strategy – and one of the reasons the party chose Milwaukee to host its national convention in July.

Mr Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 and he is expected to make frequent visits in the coming months as he works to maintain his edge.

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The president spent much of the rally defending his record, including his decision to order the strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, whom he labelled the “world’s number one terrorist”.

Mr Trump’s decision came under intense criticism from Democrats and raised questions about whether it really prevented an imminent attack, as some Trump administration officials have claimed.

“The Democrats are outraged that we killed this terrorist monster, even though this monster was behind hundreds and hundreds of deaths,” Mr Trump told the crowd, adding that “thousands of people” do not have legs and arms right now “because of this son of a bitch”.

Democrats, the president said, “should be angry about his crimes, not the decision to end his wretched life.”

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