/Trump administration shares no blame for downing of Flight PS752, says top Republican | CBC News

Trump administration shares no blame for downing of Flight PS752, says top Republican | CBC News

The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives sidestepped questions today about whether the Trump administration should have warned Canada of its plan to kill a top Iranian general — while insisting the U.S. shares no blame for the deaths of 176 people aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.

“The president made the right decision,” House minority leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters today in Washington, D.C.

“There is no blame here for America. America stood up once again for freedom. Iran went past a red line they had not gone past before, killing a U.S. citizen. Iran shot down an innocent, commercial airliner. There’s no doubt where the blame lies.”

In an interview with Global News this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indirectly blamed rising tensions in the Middle East for the destruction last week of Flight PS752 just after takeoff outside Tehran.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a candlelight vigil in Ottawa for victims of the Ukraine International Airlines crash in Tehran on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Iranian leaders admitted Saturday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down the Boeing 737-800 using surface-to-air missiles. Of the 176 people on board, 57 were Canadians.

I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said.

“This is something that happens when you have conflict and … war. Innocents bear the brunt of it. And it is a reminder why all of us need to work so hard on de-escalation, on moving forward to reduce tensions and find a pathway that doesn’t involve further conflict and killing.”

Iran and the U.S. lurched to the brink of open war when a U.S. drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani Jan. 3 in Baghdad. International observers and Trump’s domestic critics argue the sudden decision to kill another country’s military leader destabilized the security climate in the region — making miscalculations like the one that apparently led to the downing of Flight PS752 more likely.

A rescue worker shows pictures of a girl recovered from the plane crash site in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Jan. 8, 2020. (Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press)

Asked whether the administration of U.S. President Donald should have warned Canada of the plan to kill Soleimani, McCarthy ducked the question by citing Iranian acts of aggression in the region, including an Iranian-backed assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in late December and a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that killed an American civilian contractor.

“I think Soleimani should’ve been killed,” he said. “I think if he had been held accountable for his actions for decades before … the American would be alive. And Trudeau did not have to mention Iran because the facts are purely on Iran … Trudeau is right about what Iran had been doing.”

Bruce Heyman, who served as U.S. ambassador to Canada under President Barack Obama, tweeted today that Trudeau was correct to state that President Trump’s “escalation” made the crash possible.

In his conversation with Global News, Trudeau was asked to react to a tweet from Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain blaming the “narcissist in Washington” for creating the anxious climate that led to the destruction of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.

“I’ve heard many Canadians express a range of, of conclusions, of emotions, outrage, grief, loss,” Trudeau said. “And it doesn’t surprise me to see a range of conclusions and messages coming from all Canadians …”

And while the PM acknowledged there isn’t “a lot of trust” in the Canada-Iran relationship, the regime’s admission of fault “shows there is a willingness to move forward and take responsibility.”

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