WASHINGTON — Republican US lawmakers turned up the heat yesterday on Susan Rice, saying the UN ambassador – seen as a possible nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state – must testify before Congress on her remarks after the September attack that killed the American envoy to Libya.
Two influential Senate Republicans, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, did not back down from their vow made last week to oppose any attempt by President Barack Obama to put Rice into a Cabinet position that would require Senate confirmation.
“She has a lot of explaining to do. I am curious why she has not repudiated these remarks,” McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee, said on CBS’s Face the Nation programme.
Obama last Thursday warned Republicans that if they had a problem with the US handling of the Benghazi attack in Libya to “go after me” rather than picking on Rice.
McCain said he wished the president would not waste time getting mad at him but instead spend the time finding out what happened in Libya and how could it be prevented in the future.
“She’s going to have to come in and testify at some point, whether it’s in a closed hearing or an open hearing,” Republican Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Fox News Sunday programme, referring to Rice.
“We’re going to have an open hearing, too. But at some point, she needs to come in and say what the president or the White House directed her to say,” Chambliss added.
Republicans have criticised Rice for appearing on Sunday morning news shows five days after the September 11 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi and saying that preliminary information suggested the assault was the result of protests over an anti-Muslim film rather than a premeditated strike. (Reuters)