UN Ambassador Susan Rice is withdrawing from consideration for Secretary of State, NBC News reported Thursday. The embattled ambassador, harshly criticized by the GOP for her unintentionally misleading statements following the attack in Benghazi, cited partisan politics in a letter to President Obama.
“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote. “That tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country… Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”
Led by Republican senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham, the GOP steadfastly protested Rice’s handling of the post-Benghazi media appearances. Though it became clear early on that Rice was not responsible for the inaccurate statements regarding the character of the Benghazi attack, the trio of GOP senators persisted in their efforts to prevent her nomination.
President Obama accepted Rice’s decision in a White House statement:
Statement by the President on Ambassador Rice
Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State. For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant. As my Ambassador to the United Nations, she plays an indispensable role in advancing America’s interests. Already, she has secured international support for sanctions against Iran and North Korea, worked to protect the people of Libya, helped achieve an independent South Sudan, stood up for Israel’s security and legitimacy, and served as an advocate for UN reform and the human rights of all people. I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team, carrying her work forward on all of these and other issues. I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come, and know that I will continue to rely on her as an advisor and friend. While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.