A South Carolina lawmaker told Fox News Monday morning that Ambassador Susan Rice was “tainted” as a potential Secretary of State candidate by the controversy surrounding her statements about the fatal Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya.
“I think Susan Rice is tainted,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said. “She rolled out on five Sunday talk shows with the message of [President Barack Obama's] administration that this was a violent response to a video, and nothing was further from the truth.”
Duncan is part of a group of 97 House Republicans who sent Obama a letter saying Rice “propagated a falsehood that the attacks were ‘spontaneous’” by using talking points provided by the CIA to discuss the attack on the U.S. consulate building in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Democrats have consistently pushed back on the GOP allegations, with Obama daring critics to go after him, and another South Carolina House member, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) saying last week that the attacks relied on racially-inflammatory “code words.”
Sunday, one of Rice’s earliest critics, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), released a statement suggesting that he was wrong to accuse Rice of getting her talking points from the Obama administration instead of intelligence officials, in light of information.
“There are many other questions that remain unanswered,” he said in the statement. “But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.”
McCain has also softened his criticism of Rice, saying he would be “glad to have the opportunity” to discuss the issue with her if she is nominated.
However, Duncan said he agreed with Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who said Sunday Rice had “an obligation not to just be a puppet” in discussing the information with the media.
“The real question is, why was Susan Rice put on the Sunday talk shows with a message that misled the American people about the real reason behind the attacks in Benghazi?” Duncan said. “Especially when it was just weeks before a very important presidential election.”
Duncan was also part of King’s Homeland Security Committee hearings on radical Islam last year, during which he complained about the danger of Sharia law to the U.S. and of the administration’s “continued failure to single out who our enemy is.”
Watch Duncan’s interview with Fox News, as aired on Monday, below.