Senator Mazie Hirono is often in the headlines. She isn’t written about because of her hard work in the Senate, though. It is usually because she is responsible for a soundbite or a course remark made during an interview.
Monday Senator Hirono was a guest on CNN’s early morning show. When her interview turned to the subject of escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran, Hirono took the opportunity to slam President Trump, not the Iranian government. Tension in the Persian Gulf region was amplified Sunday night when a Katyusha rocket landed in the middle of the Green Zone in Baghdad. The Green Zone is where the U.S. Embassy is located in Iraq’s capital city, along with Iraqi government headquarters. It is believed the rocket was launched from east Baghdad, home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.
Hours later, two influential Shiite figures in Iraq warned about pulling their country into a war between the United States and Iran, saying it would turn Iraq into a battlefield and inflict much harm.
Iraq’s populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said in a statement on Monday that any political party that would involve Iraq in a U.S.-Iran war “would be the enemy of the Iraqi people,” and Qais al-Khazali, the leader of an Iranian-backed group, said he is opposed to operations that “give pretexts for war.”
Fortunately, there were no casualties in the attack. This attack came after reports of an unexplained rise in tension coming out of Iran began to surface earlier this month. President Trump ordered an aircraft carrier with B-52 bombers to the region in response. Non-essential staff from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in the Erbil have been evacuated. Trump also responded to Iran with a tweet.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Apparently, this was too much for Senator Hirono. She said President Trump is acting like “the dictator he wants to be.”
“If the president thinks he can resolve all these problems with military might he’s so wrong. There is something Secretary Mattis said, ‘we need a diplomatic resolution to all these conflicts.’ This is the president once again thumping his chest acting like he is the dictator he wants to be,” the Hawaii Democrat said on CNN’s “New Day” show, responding to the president’s tweet.
Perhaps Hawaii’s junior Senator got a little too comfortable with the less than vigorous responses from President Obama to threatening attacks against America during his time in office. President Trump is well-known for pushing back when attacked, whether it is a personal attack or an attack on America.
President Trump is open to diplomatic talks with Iran, as Hirono wants, but recently Iran has been behind attacks on pipelines and ships and threatening American interests in Iraq. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a meeting with Putin in Moscow on May 13 and went to Brussels instead for an unscheduled meeting at NATO headquarters. Oil companies have evacuated personnel and Bahrain ordered all its citizens to leave Iraq and Iran.
An Iraqi oil official told the Associated Press on Saturday that employees of energy giant Exxon Mobil have started evacuating an oil field in the southern province of Basra. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said all those who are being evacuated are foreigners or Iraqis who hold other nationalities.
The official did not give numbers but said the first group left two days ago and another batch left early Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, Bahrain ordered all of its citizens to immediately leave Iraq and Iran, amid rising tensions. Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry cited the “unstable situation in the region and the grave developments and threats that threaten security and stability.”
Iranian reaction to Trump’s tweet came in like fashion.
Goaded by #B_Team, @realdonaldTrump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won't "end Iran". #NeverThreatenAnIranian. Try respect—it works!
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 20, 2019
Hirono reacted to Trump’s dealings with North Korea’s dictator in much the same way. She didn’t like his approach to Kim Jong-un back in 2017.
“This is before he fell in love with Kim Jong-un, I guess. With this president, he is unpredictable. He doesn’t talk to anybody besides — I don’t know. He mainly refers to himself to make decisions on foreign policy, which is why it’s really hard to rely upon, pretty much in my view, whatever the president says both domestically and on foreign policy,” she said.
In June 2018 Senator Hirono told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Trump thinks he is a dictator and a king because of his reactions to the Mueller investigation.
It shows the president is desperate as to what his concerns regarding the Mueller investigation. For him to come out and say that he could pardon himself and some of the other outrageous statements he is making. He should put a crown on his head because he is acting like a king and that is not our country. He thinks he is a dictator and king.
If only she would devote her energy to serving the people of Hawaii and do her work in the Senate instead of chasing television cameras, maybe she would come off as a more serious legislator. She should leave the name-calling as a way of gaining attention in the press to middle school mean girls. Others are taking the situation with Iran more seriously and receiving briefings.
Just received a briefing from National Security Advisor Bolton about escalating tensions with Iran.
It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 20, 2019