97 Republicans sign letter urging Obama to avoid Rice nomination for State

Nearly 100 House Republicans on Monday called on President Obama not to nominate Susan Rice as secretary of State.

In a letter to Obama, the 97 Republicans said the credibility of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been gravely wounded by her account of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

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“Though Ambassador Rice has been our representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador [Christopher] Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” Republicans wrote in their letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and sent to Obama on Monday.

Stevens and the three others were killed in the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

The letter says Rice “propagated a falsehood” that the attacks were a spontaneous response to a video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad. The administration then said, more than a week later, that terrorism might have played a role.

“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter,” the letter says. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.


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“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.”

If Obama were to nominate Rice, it would be up to the Senate to confirm her, not the House. But the House Republican letter mirrors some of the Senate Republican criticism of Rice that has emerged.

Last week, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said they would work to block the nomination in the Senate. Obama in a press conference last week singled out McCain and Graham for criticism over their attacks on Rice.

The House letter ends by saying that the House is still looking for answers to questions about the Benghazi attack. 

“In light of this troubling situation and the continued unanswered questions, we strongly oppose any efforts to nominate Ambassador Susan Rice for the position of secretary of State,” the letter states.


— Correction: The initial headline on this story incorrectly said 100 Republicans signed this letter.