Corker doesn’t think Obama will pick Rice for Secretary of State

A key Republican Senator predicted on Sunday that President Obama will not nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to become the next Secretary of State. 

The incoming Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerDem Iraq War vets renew AUMF push on 15th anniversary of war Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support Senate, Trump clash over Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Tenn.) told NBC "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory that he didn’t believe Rice would be tapped for the nation’s top diplomatic post. 

"I don't think she's going to be nominated but certainly I will give her a fair hearing," Corker said. 

Ambassador Rice embarked on a damage-control circuit with members of the Senate last week to explain her role in the initial White House assessment that a spontaneous riot led to the killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

The administration and Rice later acknowledged that he September attack was a planned terrorist assault but Republicans have questioned whether the White House sought to hide that aspect for political reasons in the run up to November’s election. 

Rice has been the focus of speculation as President Obama’s preferred pick to replace Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Trump keeps up 'low IQ' attack on Maxine Waters GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE in his second term.

Obama has defended Rice's role as the administration's spokesperson on the matter, when she appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows in the immediate aftermath of the incident, with what the administration says were incorrect talking points provided by the intelligence community. 

Rice’s efforts to meet with GOP senators and last week and allay their concerns over her handling of Benghazi, though, appeared to have failed to win her support.

Sens. McCain, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSteyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-S.C.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.) said they were more “disturbed” after speaking with her. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Overnight Health Care: House leaves out ObamaCare fix from funding bill | Trump appointees pushed to end teen pregnancy program | Key Dem raises concerns over potential CDC pick MORE (R-Maine), a centrist Republican, also said she was unconvinced by Rice’s explanations for her role on Benghazi.

Corker, on Sunday, explained to Gregory that his colleagues were concerned that Rice behaved in a political manner in the days after the Benghazi attack.

"I do think the underlying issue is that people have seen her far more as a political operative and not a principal and I think that's what the White House is witnessing right now," Corker explained. 

Regardless, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp GOP Senate candidate slams McCaskill over Clinton ties Dems meddle against Illinois governor ahead of GOP primary MORE (Mo.) called the current firestorm aimed squarely at Rice "terribly unfair" and said the failures sprung from the intelligence community.  

"It's terribly unfair that she should be the scapegoat for this when really the failures ought to be at the lap of the intelligence community that produced these talking points but none of these guys will say a word about [former CIA Director] David Petraeus," McCaskill said on "Meet the Press." 

When asked if it was a fight that President Obama should wage however, McCaskill was less supportive. 

"I don't know whether he should take on the fight or not," the freshly re-elected Senator said.