With Hilary Clinton set to depart from her position as Secretary of State by the end of the year, the Obama administration is in the process of selecting a new Cabinet officer to fill her position. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice seems to be one of the administration’s leading candidates, but her selection will not go unchallenged. Rice has been negatively linked to the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, leading 97 House Republicans to sign a letter to President Obama, stating that her public comments on the Benghazi attack had “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.”
“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter,” the letter continues. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.”
The criticism stems from the Obama administration originally characterizing the incident as a riot rather than a terrorist attack, as was later stated. Rice acted as a spokesperson for the administration during public appearances, but her comments were based off of pre-approved CIA talking points, according to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.
The confirmation of Cabinet members is a duty reserved for the Senate, so the letter from GOP House of Republican members steps beyond a perceived boundary, and seems to ignore Feinstein’s comments from over a week ago.
Susan Rice’s foreign policy resume as a U.N. ambassador is one of the most accomplished amongst senior Washington staffers. Having served since Bill Clinton was in office, she helped manage U.N. sanctions against Iran and North Korea, while handling the Libya situation according to the administration’s wishes.
In reality the GOP letter is inconsequential to Rice being selected as the next secretary of state. With 55 votes in the Senate, only 5 Republican votes would be needed to approve her selection. Regardless of the mistakes made across the administration in the Benghazi attacks, Democrats will not allow Rice to be made the scapegoat for the incident.