Two of President Donald Trump’s guests at the State of the Union address on Tuesday were the wife and son of Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake, who was killed in Iraq by a bomb planted with the help of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“On his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, Sgt. Hake wrote a letter to his 1-year-old son, Gage: ‘I will be with you again,’ he wrote to Gage. ‘I will teach you to ride your first bike, build your first sandbox, watch you play sports, and see you have kids also. I love you, son; take care of your mother. I am always with you. Daddy.’ On Easter Sunday of 2008, Chris was out on patrol in Baghdad when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb,” Trump said.
“That night, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Sgt. Hake now rests in eternal glory in Arlington, and his wife Kelli is in the gallery tonight, joined by their son, who is now a 13-year-old and doing very, very well. To Kelli and Gage: Chris will live in our hearts forever. He is looking down on you now. Thank you.”
The U.S. government concluded that Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 603 American service members during the war in Iraq, with many of the deaths resulting from Iran-sourced improvised explosive devices and other attacks aided by Iran’s then-Soleimani-led Revolutionary Guard and its specialized Quds Force.
“The terrorist responsible for killing Sgt. Hake was Qassem Soleimani, who provided the deadly roadside bomb that took Chris’s life. Soleimani was the Iranian regime’s most ruthless butcher, a monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq. As the world’s top terrorist, Soleimani orchestrated the deaths of countless men, women, and children. He directed the December assault on United States Forces in Iraq and was actively planning new attacks,” Trump said.
“And we hit him very hard. That is why, last month, at my direction, the United States military executed a flawless precision strike that killed Soleimani and terminated his evil reign of terror forever.”
The Revolutionary Guard, which was led by Soleimani, supports terrorists around the world, carries out assassinations and cyber attacks, funds illicit missile development, and wields huge influence both inside the country and around the region. It also plays an important role in funding, training, and guiding Iran’s global proxies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen, and in propping up Bashar Assad in Syria.
“In recent months, we have seen proud Iranians raise their voices against their oppressive rulers,” President Trump said. “The Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop spreading terror, death, and destruction, and start working for the good of its own people.”