After weeks of controversy surrounding U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and threats from GOP Senators they would block a nomination of her for Secretary of State, Amb. Rice officially withdrew her name from consideration to the position on Thursday.
In a letter sent to President Obama, Amb. Rice wrote that though she believed she would have served the country well as Secretary of State, “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. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country.” She added, “Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”
President Obama released a statement shortly after receiving Rice’s letter:
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.
Senators Graham and McCain, two of Rice’s harshest critics over the last several weeks, expressed their respect for her decision.
Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., is now speculated to be the front-runner for the nomination.