The CEO of Canadian packaged meats company Maple Leaf Foods has put US President Donald Trump in the cross hairs over the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by Iran last week, blaming the US for destabilizing the region and exacerbating tensions with Tehran.
In a series of scalding tweets on Sunday, Michael McCain wrote that he was "very angry" at Trump and held him responsible for the deaths of dozens of Canadian citizens, including the family of an employee of his company, in the jet crash that Iran says was unintentionally caused by one of its missile defense systems.
"I’m Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, and these are personal reflections. I am very angry, and time isn’t making me less angry," he tweeted.
McCain called Trump a "narcissist" who "tears world accomplishments apart; destabilizes region."
The United States is "now unwelcomed everywhere in the area including Iraq; tensions escalated to feverish pitch," he added.
"The collateral damage of this irresponsible, dangerous, ill-conceived behavior? 63 Canadians needlessly lost their lives in the crossfire, including the family of one of my MLF colleagues (his wife + 11 year old son)!" he tweeted.
The Boeing 737-800, on its way to Kiev and ultimately bound for Toronto, was shot down unintentionally on January 8, hours after Iran fired missiles at two American military bases in neighboring Iraq in retaliation for the US assassination of Iranian Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani a few days earlier.
All the 176 people on board were killed and among them 147 were Iranians.
The assassinations of Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and eight others took place under the direction of Trump, with the US Department of Defense taking responsibility for the strike.
McCain, in his tweets, said that "US government leaders unconstrained by checks/balances, concocted an ill-conceived plan to divert focus from political woes."
His tweets echoed criticism of Trump's actions towards Iran by Democrats on Capitol Hill who have blamed the president for what they say was an unnecessary provocation of Iran, unjustifiable, and without the authorization of Congress.
The White House and other Trump administration officials have claimed that Soleimani represented an "imminent" threat to US forces or assets.
The Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, however, made remarks Sunday in which he contradicted Trump's official account of the events.
Esper said he did not see specific evidence from intelligence officials that Iran was planning to attack four US embassies, an assertion made by Trump in justifying the killing of Soleimani.
While Esper said he agreed with Trump that additional attacks against US embassies were likely, he said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Trump's remarks to Fox News were not based on specific evidence on an attack on four embassies.
"What the president said was that there probably could be additional attacks against embassies. I shared that view," Esper said. "The president didn't cite a specific piece of evidence."
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