Trump defends killing of Suleimani: 'We did not take action to start a war' – live

President makes first public statement since assassination of Iran’s top general and says he will take ‘whatever action is necessary’ – follow live

8.41pm GMT

In his statement on the Suleimani strike, Trump praised the work of the intelligence agencies that he has previously criticized as part of a “deep state” seeking to undermine his presidency.

“We have the best intelligence in the world,” Trump says, praising the agencies he has doubted in the past. He adds that if Americans anywhere are threatened “we have all of those targets already fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary.”

8.36pm GMT

Interestingly, the president’s team called the White House press pool back to Mar-a-Lago after the reporters had already left for the airport to travel to Trump’s event in Miami tonight.

Once the press pool returned to the Florida resort, the president delivered his short statement on the Suleimani strike.

After initially going to the airport to fly to Miami, the press was brought back to Mar-a-Lago for the president’s quick statement. Had he not addressed the issue there, the first time he would have done so in public would have been at his 5:00pm campaign event with evangelicals.

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Source: theguardian