President Barack Obama received a letter from a group of House Republicans that says United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice misguided the country about the attack at the U.S. consulate in Libya. The letter, sent by 97 House Republicans, said that Rice is unfit to be a candidate to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to the Associated Press.
The letter was organized by Jeff Duncan, from South Carolina, who said that Rice’s ‘misleading statements’ about the deadly attack helped lead to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Her statements “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.”
The letter is just the latest effort to blame Rice for the mixed signals that were sent by the administration following the attack in Benghazi. In the Senate, Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain have led the case against Rice, claiming that she is untrustworthy and unqualified. They also promised to block her nomination should Obama pick her to replace Clinton in the State Department should Clinton resign.
Last week, during a news conference, Obama said that Graham and McCain should ‘go after me’ if they wish to offer criticism of his administration’s actions. Obama also made it a point to say that Rice had no part in the Benghazi incident and “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
Last Friday, close to one dozen female Democratic members of the House defended Rice, claiming that the critiques of her were racist and sexist. The problems began for Rice when she appeared on Sunday talk shows just five days following the attack on Benghazi, which occurred on September 11. On the talk shows, Rice said that from the information she had at the time, the attack was in response to an anti-Muslim video and that the attack was not premeditated. Now much later, her assessment of the attack was proven to be incorrect.
In the letter from the House Republicans, Rice “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter. 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.”
Obama has yet to say who would succeed Clinton in her post, which she has not announced a formal resignation date yet. Rice has been named as a possible successor multiple times. All positions that are senior-level have to be approved by the Senate.