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- Former United States Secretary of State
“This Institution supports the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights and its method of representative government.”
That’s the statement President Hoover presented to the Board of Trustees of Stanford University on the purpose of the think tank that bears his name.
Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, is now the director of the Hoover Institution. Which is why out of all of the wrongheaded things she said during her appearance on "The View" on Wednesday, the worst was: “It’s time to move on in a lot of ways” from the domestic terrorist attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
She was suggesting we should move on when we have judges with Jan. 6 cases receiving “all kinds of threats and hostile phone calls,” according to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton. Move on when right-wing mastermind Steve Bannon gives the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 the middle finger and 202 House Republicans side with him. Move on when the political organization of Donald Trump paid more than $4.3 million to Jan. 6 organizers and we still don’t know who knew what when.
It seems to me, if the purpose of the institute Rice leads is to support our “method of representative government,” she should be advocating that Americans lean in to investigating the promoters and inciters of the insurrection, not move on. The House committee is just beginning to follow the money trail of a domestic terrorist attack that left more Americans dead than the Benghazi attack in 2012.
Two years after the Benghazi attack, and after several investigations, Rice supported yet another investigation because “there are still unanswered questions” and "this is all in the spirit of trying to improve the next time.” Yet now, she thinks it’s time to move on from an attack that happened just nine months ago.
Moving on quickly from an attempted coup without a full investigation could be as dangerous in its consequences as what came after the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. Moving on certainly doesn’t fit with the mission of constantly safeguarding the American system, as stated by Hoover.
I wasn’t expecting Rice to praise the Biden administration or admonish anyone from her party. Her characterizing critical race theory as designed to make white children feel bad was a bit much, but for the most part Rice was her usual confounding self. Still, I didn’t think she would downplay Jan. 6 to the degree she did.
Her current role in academia aside, Rice has said that her approach to diplomacy during her time as secretary of state aimed “to work with our many partners around the world, to build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.”
How does a nation claiming to be democracy’s biggest champion just move on from Jan. 6? That is, without at least finding out what Bannon meant when on Jan. 5 he told his podcast listeners: "It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is, strap in."
Or maybe the real question is, did Rice actually believe in building democracy or were her pronouncements just the flowery words of someone charged with selling the Bush administration’s war on terror?
On Benghazi, Rice claimed that she was all about “trying to improve the next time.” Unfortunately, with domestic terrorism and insurrection, we should assume there will be a next time if we don’t hold accountable those who incited it this time.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.