It was supposed to be a month of shrugging off impeachment and starting to pivot toward the 2020 election.
Instead, White House aides and other Republicans are now spending the early part of January in suspense about a presidency-defining moment — for the U.S. relationship with Iran and its profound implications for America’s position in the Middle East.
“Iran has taken impeachment off the front burner, or at least, makes it look quaint,” one GOP congressional aide quipped Monday.
Days after one of Iran’s top leaders was killed in a U.S. drone strike, President Donald Trump spent his first day back in Washington after two weeks in Mar-a-Lago in a business-as-usual posture — but with no public events. He held his usual weekly lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. He tweeted six times. He met with new foreign ambassadors. And then Trump went on Rush Limbaugh’s talk show to defend his decision to kill the Iranian general who he insisted should have been taken out years ago.
“Without Twitter I think we’d be lost. We wouldn’t be able to get the truth out,” he said, referring to his prolific messages about both Iran and impeachment.