(CNN) – President Trump recounted minute-by-minute details of the US strike that killed Iran’s top military commander during remarks to high-dollar Republican donors at his South Florida estate, according to audio obtained by CNN.
Trump, speaking at a GOP fundraising dinner Friday evening, offered new details about the strike that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, which exacerbated tensions in the region and led to an ongoing dispute with Congress over his constitutional ability to wage war.
In his speech — held inside the gilded ballroom on his Mar-a-Lago property — he claimed that Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing.
“How much of this shit do we have to listen to?” Trump asked. “How much are we going to listen to?”
Trump described in detail watching remotely as Soleimani arrived at Baghdad International Airport, where he was met by Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah.
Trump claimed erroneously that Soleimani was meeting “the head of Hezbollah” (the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group is separate from group led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis).
And he claimed the strike he authorized took out “two for the price of one.” He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from “cameras that are miles in the sky.”
“They’re together sir,” Trump recalled the military officials saying. “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. ‘2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ “
“Then all of a sudden, boom,” he went on. “‘They’re gone, sir. Cutting off.’ “
“I said, where is this guy?” Trump continued. “That was the last I heard from him.”
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