President Obama accepted Susan Rice’s decision to remove herself from consideration as a potential successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, although she will continue working in the administration.
“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,” Obama said in a statement. “The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”
A group of senators promised to fight Rice’s nomination, if Obama chose her, because she claimed several days after the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
“Why did our ambassador to the United Nations, in interviews five days after the attack, also try to blame [the attack] on the hateful video when it was clear from the earliest hours of the attack that it was a sophisticated offensive and that there was no protest?” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on November 14.
Obama replied that day defiantly. “[I]f I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department [head] then I will nominate her, but that’s not a determination I’ve made yet,” he said in a press conference.
Here is the president’s full statement on Rice’s withdrawal from consideration:
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.