WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump is cutting short his Florida vacation and returning to Washington on Thursday, one day earlier than expected for reasons the White House didn't explain.
The White House announced the abrupt change in the president's schedule late Wednesday, hours after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he will raise objections when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.
The Republican challenge is a futile attempt intended to keep Trump in power, and a path the president has pursued after his campaign lost scores of legal challenges to the election outcome, including at the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College certified Biden's 306-232 win.
Trump's early return comes as tensions escalate between the United States and Iran in the final weeks of his administration. There is concern in Washington that Iran could order further military retaliation for the U.S. killing last Jan. 3 of top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Iran’s initial response, five days after that deadly U.S. drone strike, was a ballistic missile attack on a military base in Iraq that caused brain concussion injuries to about 100 U.S. troops.
Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups launched a rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Dec. 20. No one was killed, but Trump said days later that Iran was on notice.
“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” Trump tweeted on Dec. 23. He added, ”We hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq.”
His stand won the support of a key ally in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
``To the Iranians, if you’re going to try to do something on President Trump’s watch, you better be ready for a big pushback, so be careful what you do with Trump,’’ Graham told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday.