Two key Republican leaders said on Sunday morning’s talk shows they’re willing to hear U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s explanation for comments she made about the terror attack on the U.S. consulate to Benghazi.
Rice is President Barack Obama’s first choice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and the president has said he’ll fight Republicans to get the U.N. ambassador approved. However, Republicans, especially Arizona Sen. John McCain, have been accusing Rice of being at the center of a White House cover-up of the attack, which killed four Americans, including an ambassador, on Sept. 11.
McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the controversy wouldn’t necessarily lead them to block Rice, if she can explain herself. She told Sunday talk shows five days after the assault the violence was the result of a mob angered the by the weird video, “Innocence of Muslims,” when it turned out the assault was a well-calculated terrorism incident.
Rice has said she relied on information provided by the intelligence community, which was later discredited.
McCain told Fox News Sunday he thinks Rice deserves another chance.
I think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain herself and her position. But she’s not the problem. The problem is the President of the United States.
McCain’s statements were in direct contrast to his previous opinion, when he said he’d do whatever was necessary to block Rice’s nomination because he thought she was unqualified to replace Clinton.
Meanwhile, Graham, McCain’s colleague on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he still thinks the White House glossed over the terrorism links behind the attack because of the election. However, he says he’s looking forward to hearing Rice’s version of the event and said she’ll be asked a lot of questions.
Intelligence officials said they knew the Benghazi raid was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda was involved, but they also believed initially the attack may have grown spontaneously from protests against the film.