A freshman Republican is circulating a letter among House colleagues to “strongly oppose any efforts to nominate Ambassador Susan Rice for the position of Secretary of State.”
The Democratic-controlled Senate would vote on such a nomination, and the author of the letter, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), intends to cc senators when he sends it to President Obama.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) complained about the letter at today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Benghazi.
“I have a letter here from one of our colleagues asking people to cosign declaring that Susan Rice isn’t fit to be the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador,” Connolly said. “This is before investigations are completed. This is before this hearing, it’s signed the day before.”
The letter began circulating before Obama’s press conference yesterday in which he all but challenged Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to a duel over the fitness of Rice to serve.
It states concern with Rice’s statements in the days and weeks following the deadly Sept. 11 attack, in which she “propagated a falsehood that the attacks were ‘spontaneous,’ the outcome of a protest ‘spun out of control,’ and the result of a YouTube video.”
“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter,” the letter obtained by PJM states. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed. Thus, we believe that making her the face of U.S. foreign policy in your second term would greatly undermine your desire to improve U.S. relations with the world and continue to build trust with the American people.”
It also notes “continued unanswered questions,” like those posed over the past month in 13 different letters to senior administration officials from senators.
“President Obama is sadly mistaken if the thinks the House of Representatives won’t get to the bottom of the Benghazi tragedy and hold him responsible if the evidence points to the White House,” Duncan said at this morning’s hearing. “If Ambassador Rice had nothing to do with the Benghazi cover up, then why did the administration use her as a mouthpiece to mislead the American people on five Sunday talk shows?”