By Bethan Sexton For Dailymail.Com and Dailymail.com Reporter
14:37 12 Jan 2024, updated 14:43 12 Jan 2024
Trump said Biden is ‘dropping bombs’ on the Middle East after he ‘defeated ISIS’
Sarcastically said it ‘makes sense’ to focus on Yemen and not on the border
Donald Trump criticized Joe Biden for ‘dropping bombs’ on the Middle East after he ‘already defeated ISIS’ and Lloyd Austin for ‘running’ the Yemen airstrikes from a ‘laptop in a hospital room’.
The former president, 77, also asked why the same ‘gang’ who dealt with the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan are also focusing on Houthis rather than dealing with the Southern Border.
‘So, let me get this straight. We’re dropping bombs all over the Middle East, AGAIN (where I defeated ISIS!), and our Secretary of Defence, who just went missing for five days, is running the war from his laptop in a hospital room,’ Trump posted on Truth Social on Friday.
Austin and the Pentagon are still facing criticism for not revealing that he was in intensive care or had been diagnosed with cancer to the White House or the public.
The Pentagon chief released a statement from Walted Reed Medical Center on Thursday night to warn the Houthis would face ‘further costs’ if they continued targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea.
‘Remember, this is the same gang that “surrendered” in Afghanistan, where no one was held accountable or FIRED,’ Trump added.
‘It was the most embarrassing “moment” in the history of the United States. Now we have wars in Ukraine, Israel, and Yemen, but no “war” on our Southern Border. Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Crooked Joe Biden is the worst President in the history of the United States!’
Trump joined in the response as Democrats on Capitol Hill claimed it was ‘unconstitutional’ for Biden to order US fighter jets, destroyers and submarines to hit targets used by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The US used more than 100 precision missiles striking at around 2.30am local time on over 60 targets at 16 locations in the massive operation that led to powerful explosions lighting up the night sky in Yemen.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan furiously condemned the strikes in a statement this morning, accusing the US and UK of turning the Red Sea into a ‘sea of blood’. Iran and Russia also accused the West of ‘illegal’ and escalatory actions.
The Houthi rebels also vowed to make allies behind the attacks ‘pay a heavy price’ for the ‘blatant aggression’ they claim has killed at least five fighters.
And progressives on Capitol Hill, including members of The Squad, responded with fury, because Biden didn’t seek their approval first.
‘The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east (sic) conflict,’ California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna said.
‘Section 2C of the War Powers Act is clear: POTUS may only introduce the US into hostilities after Congressional authorization or in a national emergency when the U.S. is under imminent attack,’ he added. ‘Reporting is not a substitute. This is a retaliatory, offensive strike’.
Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat and member of the progressive Squad, called the strikes ‘illegal’ and told Biden, 81, to ‘stop the bombing and do better by us’.
‘The people do not want more of our taxpayer dollars going to endless war and the killing of civilians,’ she added.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib also called the operation ‘unconstitutional’ and said Americans are ‘tired of endless war’.
She has previously accused Biden of supporting ‘genocide’ in Gaza with his backing of Israel’s military offensive in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.
Oregon Rep. Val Hoyle added: ‘These airstrikes have NOT been authorized by Congress.
‘The Constitution is clear: Congress has the sole authority to authorize military involvement in overseas conflicts. Every president must first come to Congress and ask for military authorization, regardless of part.’
Head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, said the strikes were an ‘unacceptable violation of the Constitution’.
‘Article 1 requires that military action be authorized by Congress,’ she added.
Most Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said that the strikes were long overdue and a hopeful sign the Biden administration would take a more aggressive approach to Iran and in its proxies.
The attacks come in response to months of Houthi-led bombings on ships in the Red Sea – amid the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
US officials had warned there would be ‘consequences’ for the Houthi’s attack on non-military ships in the Red Sea.
Explosions were reported in Sana’a, Hodeidah governorate, Saada, and Dhamar, Houthi officials confirmed. It’s unclear the extent of the damage or any injuries.
Super Hornets, Navy destroyers, and a submarine launched Tomahawk cruise missiles during the blitz.
Sites including command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems were hit, according to officials.
At least one submarine was deployed, the US would not confirm exactly which one but Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN-728) entered the Red Sea in November, USNI News reports. The vessel has capacity for 154 missiles.
Super Hornets from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) were deployed, along with Air Force fighters originating from a base in the Middle East.
The US and UK, along with Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, joined together for the attack.
‘These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes,’ Biden said.
‘I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.’
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also released a statement in the wake of the attacks. It was his first public comment since his health scandal saw him in the ICU of the hospital for prostate cancer treatment, without the White House knowing about his condition.
‘This action is intended to disrupt and degrade the Houthis’ capabilities to endanger mariners and threaten global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways. Today’s coalition action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will bear further costs if they do not end their illegal attacks,’ Austin said.
Prior to the strike, terrorists in the region had warned of possible retaliation against US military targets if the bombing went ahead.
Shortly after the strike unverified reports of attacks on US bases in Iraq began to flood social media.
The bombardment came thirty minutes after the the U.S. military said the Houthis had had staged their 27th attack on shipping since November 19 earlier on Thursday, firing an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.
The US military strikes are the country’s first on Yemen since 2016. President Biden said they had been ordered in response to ‘unprecedented’ attacks against maritime vessels.
‘More than 50 nations have been affected in 27 attacks on international commercial shipping. Crews from more than 20 countries have been threatened or taken hostage in acts of piracy,’ Biden said.
‘More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea—which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times. And on January 9, Houthis launched their largest attack to date—directly targeting American ships.’
He then added: ‘Last week, together with 13 allies and partners, we issued an unequivocal warning that Houthi rebels would bear the consequences if their attacks did not cease. And yesterday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the Houthis end attacks on merchant and commercial vessels.’
But he was criticized by those among his own party for failing to talk to Congress prior to ordering the attacks.
‘The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution,’ Rep. Ro Khanna said in a post on X.
‘I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.’
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also spoke out in the wake of the attack decribing them as ‘self-defense.’
‘This cannot stand. The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade,’ Sunak said.
‘The Royal Navy continues to patrol the Red Sea as part of the multinational Operation Prosperity Guardian to deter further Houthi aggression, and we urge them to cease their attacks and take steps to de-escalate.’
Houthi official Abdul Qader al-Mortada condemned latest allied strikes as ‘American-Zionist-British aggression’ in a post on X.
Vice President of the Houthi Media Authority Nasr Aldeen Amer also vowed that the Houthi would not retreat.
‘A brutal aggression against our country, for which they [the attackers] will pay absolutely and without hesitation, and we will not back down from our position in supporting the Palestinian people, whatever the cost,’ he said.
The rebels say their assaults are aimed at stopping Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But their targets are increasingly random.
The Yemeni rebels are backed by Iran. They have stepped up attacks on international shipping since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel in what they say is an act of solidarity with Palestinians.
Various shipping lines have suspended operations, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously warned of ‘consequences’ if the Houthi do not stop attacking ships in the Red Sea, and called on Iran to end their support for the rebels.
‘We’ve been clear with more than 20 other countries that if this continues as it did yesterday that there will be consequences,’ he said on Wednesday.
When asked if there would be consequences for Iran, he added: ‘We’ve also repeatedly tried to make clear to Iran as other countries have as well that the support hat they are providing to the Houthis needs to stop.
‘It’s not in their interests to see these conflicts escalated and we’re not the only one who sent that message to Iran.
‘These attacks have been aided and abetted by Iran with technology equipment and intelligence and they are having a real life impact on people.’
It comes at a fraught time for the US – as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is reeling from his prostate cancer operation. He has been in hospital for over a week.
And by Thursday, British stealth jets and combat drones were being readied for the airstrike with warships moved into the Red Sea in recent days.