Susan Rice: Let Republicans use Benghazi as a 'political distraction'

Tim O'Donnell
·2 min read

The emergence of Susan Rice, a former national security adviser in the Obama administration, as a leading candidate to become former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate has led to a renewed focus on the 2012 attacks against U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stephens. Rice, though, called the criticism of her role in the aftermath of the event a "political distraction" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Rice did express regret about agreeing to represent the Obama administration on news shows where she announced that the attacks were part of a spontaneous protest in response to an anti-Muslim video. The information relayed turned out to be inaccurate, and the attacks were premeditated. Rice told The Atlantic her mother warned about going on the shows, especially since then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined, but said she ultimately accepted the task because she consider herself a "team player." Now, she says, she wishes she had listened to her mother's advice and has since learned that tragedies like Benghazi almost always get politicized.

But she isn't too bothered by the efforts of people like Fox News host Tucker Carlson to amplify her role in the event. Rice noted there has been "no investigation, no outrage, not a boo out of Congressional Republicans" over the Pensacola air base shooting that left three Americans dead or the four American service members who were killed in a terrorist attack in Niger, both under President Trump's watch. She also doesn't think focusing on Benghazi in 2020, when more than 150,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, makes much sense. "They're going to talk about Benghazi?" she said. "I say fine, let them." Read Rice's full interview at The Atlantic.

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