The Family Research Council’s executive vice president Jerry Boykin said that it would have been “irresponsible” for President Donald Trump not to have ordered the killing of a top Iranian military general, a move that has drawn criticism for escalating tensions in the Middle East.
On the Jan. 6 episode of FRC’s “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” radio program, Boykin reacted to news that Trump had approved the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a drone strike at an Iraqi airport. Right-wing activists and media pundits have generally expressed elation at the news of military action against the country, and Boykin was no exception. FRC president Tony Perkins and Boykin expounded on their shared perspective that Soleimani had endangered Christians’ religious freedom in the Middle East.
“Now, the president, in taking this action, was he justified?” Perkins asked.
“Tony, this is the most insane thing that I think I’ve heard in a long, long time is this questioning whether he should have taken this guy out,” Boykin said. “If he had not taken this guy out, I would consider it to be an act of malfeasance.”
Boykin went on to repeat the Pentagon’s claim that Soleimani was planning to attack Americans, but the government has not offered direct proof of an “imminent” threat against Americans, as Trump has suggested.
“Here he was, in a two-minute window, knowing that he was there to plan more attacks on Americans. If the president hadn’t taken him out, it would have been, I think, an irresponsible decision on the president’s part,” Boykin said.
Boykin was previously a lieutenant general in the Army. In 1980, he participated in the disastrous attempt to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran; the mission failed and eight people died. On Saturday, Trump warned Iran that if the country retaliated for the killing of Soleimani, the U.S. would strike 52 cultural sites to commemorate the 52 hostages that the U.S. failed to rescue almost 40 years ago.
Boykin has a long track record of Christian nationalist and anti-Muslim rhetoric; he has argued that Islam is not a religion and that Muslims do not deserve First Amendment protections. Boykin also has claimed that “God’s imprint” was on the 2016 election of Trump.