Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, rumored to be on Joe Biden’s running mate shortlist, is dismissing what she has described as “harping” from Republicans on her role in the Obama administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack.
Rice blasted Republicans for failing to summon any outrage when, “under Donald Trump’s watch,” three Americans were killed on a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year in a terrorist attack inspired by Al Qaeda.
It appears to be the first foreign-directed terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 — “because the Defense Department failed to adequately vet the Saudi military personnel who are being trained on that base,” she said in an interview with The Atlantic. “But no investigation, no outrage, not a boo out of congressional Republicans.”
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She went on to also cite the four Americans killed in a terrorist attack in Niger, before arguing that talk of Benghazi in 2020 is “all political distraction.”
Rice has been back in the news recently amid reports that she is on Biden’s shortlist for his vice presidential pick. Axios reported that Rice, along with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are the final two in the running.
Should she get the nod, it is likely to resurface accusations about Rice’s role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans died — including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
SUSAN RICE DEFENDS ROLE IN BENGHAZI RESPONSE AMID VEEPSTAKES, DISMISSES POTENTIAL CRITICISM AS ‘DISTRACTION’
Rice, appearing on several news shows, said the attacks occurred as the result of spontaneous protests in response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video, which was later determined not to be the case.
Republicans on five House committees initially filed an interim report claiming that Rice had intentionally misled the public. However, the House Intelligence Committee later concluded that she had not.
Rice said the new rehash of Benghazi is merely an attempt to distract from the president’s disastrous coronavirus response.
“In a year when over 160,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 because of this president’s ineptitude and incompetence and disregard for human life, putting his own political interests above the health and well-being and the economy of the United States and the ability to educate our kids … they’re going to talk about Benghazi?” she said. “I say fine, let them.”
She also said that her mother warned her not to do the news shows, and asked why then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wasn’t doing them.
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“But I agreed [to appear], as a team player. And her instinct was, ‘I smell a rat. You shouldn’t do it.’ And I said, ‘Mom, don’t be ridiculous. I’ve done this many times before.’ She was absolutely right.”
Last week, Biden told reporters that he would choose his party’s vice presidential nominee by “the first week in August.” But a source familiar with the process told Fox News on Monday that “an announcement isn’t likely this week.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.