National Security

Dem Rep Blames Trump’s Escalation With Iran for Downed Plane

Previously referred to plane as 'collateral damage' from Trump's actions

Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) continued on Friday to blame President Donald Trump for Iran shooting down a Ukrainian plane.

"There's no question that if, in fact, [Iran is] responsible, if the evidence supports that, that they have to take responsibility," Speier said. "But what generated them shooting missiles in the air was the fact that they were providing vengeance or a tit-for-tat to the United States for having killed their general."

"Are you blaming the president in any way for the fact that it appears that Iran shot down that jetliner?" CNN anchor John Berman asked.

"No, but I am saying that, but for the escalation in the actions taken by Iran, there would not be 176 people dead today. It all emanates from the killing of Soleimani," Speier responded.

Berman asked Speier how Iran should be held accountable if reports that Iran shot down the airliner are confirmed.

Speier said the international community needs to examine the situation from multiple perspectives and then pivoted back to blaming Trump for escalating the conflict with Iran.

"We need to remember how this all started. This has started from the time the president of the United States reneged on the nuclear deal that we had with Iran," Speier said. "And then imposed severe sanctions on Iran that's hurt them economically, then called the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. He keeps ramping it up and the result is that they respond."

During an appearance on CNN Thursday, Speier said shooting down the airliner was "yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States."

Escalation with Iran began before Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. In January 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps captured two U.S. Navy boats and held 10 U.S. sailors hostage. They were released after being forced to read a statement apologizing to Iran and praising Iran's treatment while the sailors were detained. Iran also released video footage of the sailors.

Iran has also supported Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who used chemical weapons against his own people on multiple occasions, and backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which helped prolong a costly civil war.