Barely a week after we wrote our commentary about women in power in Washington, we have the ongoing hysteria from Republicans over Susan Rice and her as-yet-undeclared nomination for Secretary of State.
Rice made the rounds in September after the attack in Benghazi, reporting what she said the intelligence indicated — that a protest in that Libyan city that resulted in the death of UN Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others was a response to an anti-Muslim film. That was later found to be false. Republicans believe she was purposefully misleading and politically motivated, trying to help President Obama during the final weeks of the election.
For two days, Rice, who now serves as the US’ UN ambassador, has been meeting with Republican Congress members in an attempt to explain how things went down. And for two days, these Congress members have expressed heightened dissatisfaction with Rice’s responses.
Sens. John McCain (AZ), Kelly Ayotte (NH), and Lindsay Graham (SC) are among the Republicans who have vocally stated their opposition to Rice.
“The concerns I have today are greater than they were before,” the LA Times quotes Sen. Graham.
Today, even more members of the GOP piled on, including moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who said that the handling of this situation “echoes” Rice’s handling of a 1998 attack on two American embassies in Africa. Some Senators have promised to block any nomination of Rice to the Secretary of State position.
For his part, President Obama once again came to Ambassador Rice’s defense, calling her “extraordinary” and adding that he “[c]ouldn’t be prouder of the job that she’s done.” Current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton led a round of applause for her.
Sen. Ayotte has responded to charges that the harsh criticism of Rice is rooted in racism and/or sexism. “I think it’s absolutely false,” she said on Fox News’ America Live with Megyn Kelly (h/t Politico). The site already says that Rice’s chances of being Secretary of State are “fading.”
Just as an African-American woman was on the cusp of a nomination for one of the most powerful and visible positions in government, it looks like it may not happen.