Article Lead Image

Gage Skidmore/Flickr Ilhan Omar/Twitter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/Twitter (CC-BY-SA)

Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slam Trump for ‘war crime’ tweet

Others are calling on Twitter to take action against Trump.


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on Jan 5, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 6:50 pm CDT

On Saturday, President Donald Trump seemingly threatened to commit war crimes against Iran, prompting swift backlash and condemnation.

In a series of tweets, Trump, who authorized the airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, said any threats of counterattack from Iran to attack America will be met with swift retaliation.

In the disconcerting tweet, Trump publicly announced his plan to “target 52 Iranian sites” that are “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

“Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats,” Trump emphatically declared.

It is unclear whether Trump is aware that his threat could be considered a war crime under international law, but people online took the time to both shame and educate the commander-in-chief.

“The President of the United States should never threaten on Twitter or anywhere else to target another country’s non-millitary cultural sites. That is an act of evil terrorism with no strategic value whatsoever other than destroying people’s heritage and history,” Eugene Gu wrote in response.

Economist David Rothschild pointed out that attacking cultural sites would constitute a war crime.

Lawmakers are also condemning Trump.

“This is a war crime. Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children — which is what you’re doing by targeting cultural sites — does not make you a ‘tough guy.’ It does not make you ‘strategic.’ It makes you a monster,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also called out Trump, saying that “targeting civilians and cultural sites is what terrorists do.”


“The President of the United States is threatening to commit war crimes on Twitter. God help us all,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted.

Others are calling on Twitter to take action against Trump.

“Dear Twitter, does threatening a war crime violate the site’s ToS? Asking for the whole world,” Newsweek columnist Seth Abramson tweeted.

International treaties confirm that Trump’s outward declaration to Iran is indeed a threat to commit war crimes.

United Nations resolution 2347 condemns “the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artifacts, and the looting and smuggling of cultural property from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites, notably by terrorist groups.”

Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which was ratified by the United States, also states that it is prohibited to “commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples … to use such objects in support of the military effort.”


Share this article
*First Published: Jan 5, 2020, 11:30 am CST