Four of Georgia’s most conservative congressional lawmakers warned the president in a stern letter Monday that they consider U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice an unfit candidate to lead the State Department.
The letter, orchestrated by Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan from neighboring South Carolina, attracted the signatures of some 97 GOP lawmakers. Among them: Georgians Paul Broun, Tom Price, Tom Graves and Lynn Westmoreland.
“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed to have either willfully or incompetently misled the American public on the Benghazi matter,” the letter reads. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad the 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.”
Ambassador Rice has weathered intense Republican criticism, most notably from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, in the months since on the attack on the diplomatic mission in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
She said in interviews in the days that followed the attack that it was a “spontaneous” reaction to a previously-unknown internet film. Blame and explanations have since shifted, though the White House’s official response later affirmed that it was, in fact, an orchestrated terror attack.
President Barack Obama has vigorously defended Rice, calling the criticisms of her “outrageous,” even as he has said he remains undecided on who to tap for the Foggy Bottom post.
Of course, the letter will have little bearing on that decision: because the responsibility of confirming presidential nominations falls to the Senate, not the House, it was little more than a symbolic admonishment.
- James Richardson