Susan Rice: Foreign policy expert whose role in Benghazi attacks could come back to haunt Biden campaign

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Susan Rice, the potential Democratic pick for the post of vice president, is considered one of the country’s foremost foreign policy experts. But while her experience will count in her favor, she will also give Republicans a clear plan of attack ahead of the November election.

The foreign policy expert was appointed United Nations ambassador by President Barack Obama, an appointment unanimously confirmed by the Senate at the time.

But his tenure as United Nations ambassador – from 2009 to 2013 – and then as Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, until 2017, has been questioned by Republicans – especially his role in the Benghazi attacks. .

US posts in Benghazi, Libya, were attacked in September 2012 resulting in the deaths of four US citizens, including Ambassador J Christopher Stevens.

Following the attack, which was coordinated by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia, Ms. Rice made several television interviews stating that the attack was “spontaneously inspired” by violent protests in Cairo, Egypt. Ms Rice later said she made the statement based on US intelligence at the time.

In his book entitled Hard love, which was released last year, Rice, 55, regretted appearing on television following attacks on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the National Security Advisor of the era, Tom Donilon.

“I think Hillary Clinton and Tom Donilon appreciated what I didn’t: the first person to speak to the public about a highly political tragedy will probably pay the price,” she wrote.

Republicans said Ms. Rice intentionally misled the public at the time, but none of the 10 investigations launched into the attack revealed that a member of the Obama administration behaved inappropriately.

A series of accusations followed Rice after Benghazi, leading her to step down from consideration to succeed Clinton as secretary of state. But it still encouraged Mr. Obama to appoint her as his national security adviser.

During her time in the White House, Rice forged a strong working relationship with then-Vice President Joe Biden, who she says often stops by her desk to discuss topics ranging from foreign policy personal matters.

“My favorite unannounced visitor was Vice President Joe Biden,” Rice wrote in Hard love.

Together, they worked on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – since canceled by Donald Trump – with other members of the Obama administration. Ms. Rice also assisted the United States in its efforts under the Paris climate agreement, which Mr. Trump also removed the country from during his presidency.

Mr Biden has consistently stated throughout his search for a running mate that he is looking for someone with whom he has a close personal relationship, similar to one he shares with President Obama. The relationship he formed with Ms. Rice while they were both in the Obama administration helped propel her to the top of his list.

But Rice is currently the target of not one, but two Congressional inquiries. While neither have yet provided proof of wrongdoing by the foreign policy expert, becoming Mr Biden’s vice president would only intensify attacks by Republicans and resurface the accusations. from Benghazi.

Another source of Republican scrutiny comes from an email Ms. Rice sent to herself in the past few days with the Obama administration, which detailed an Oval Office meeting several weeks earlier with Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama and then FBI director James Comey. During the meeting, they expressed concerns about Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russians in the weeks leading up to the former general’s appointment as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser.

Mr. Trump and his allies have insisted that the e-mail shows evidence that the Obama administration is trying to trap Mr. Flynn, but so far the idea has remained only a theory of conspiracy, titled “Obamagate” by the incumbent president, instead of showing evidence of collusion.

“It doesn’t matter if what Republicans accuse him of are bulls. What matters is that people turn on Fox News every day and see “Susan Rice,” “corruption” and “Obamagate” at the bottom of the screen, ”said a former Democratic campaign strategist. The independent.

Ms Rice married former ABC News executive producer Ian Officer Cameron, born in Canada, in 1992, after the couple met as students at Stanford University. They have two children together: a daughter and a son.

His son, John David Rice-Cameron, followed in his parents’ footsteps by attending Stanford University. But his path in politics differed, as he became president of the Republicans at Stanford College and hosted events like “Make Stanford Great Again”.

“I have a 23-year-old son who I love very much, whose politics are very, very different from mine and the rest of our family,” Rice told NPR. “My son and I will have strong disagreements on some policy issues, not all. And yet, at the end of the day, you know, I love him a lot and he loves me.

Rice has found herself among the top Democrats in the Obama administration after first wanting to be a United States Senator when she was young.

But she discovered growing up in Washington DC that her hometown lacked representatives in Congress because it was not considered a state in the United States – a determination that could change in the years to come.

Instead, she garnered a deep foreign policy resume despite never holding an elected post, a quality that initially made her a surprise choice to consider as vice president. by Mr. Biden.

After earning a history degree from Stanford University and then becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University at the age of 21, Rice joined the Bill Clinton administration.

She first served on President Clinton’s National Security Council for four years between 1993 and 1997 before moving to the State Department until 2001 as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Although Ms. Rice has long supported the Clinton family, she instead supported President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election as he ran against Hillary Clinton, placing her in high esteem with Mr. Obama once that he was elected.

His reasoning boiled down to how Mr. Obama has always been a staunch opponent of the Iraq war while then Senator Hillary Clinton supported the dispatch of troops. Mrs. Clinton would later express her regret for taking this vote.

Before speaking about Rice as the vice president chosen by Mr. Biden, the former adviser to the Obama administration indicated that she could run against Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, in the race for the United States Senate in 2020 – an announcement that would honor his childhood dream. Six months after showing interest in running, Rice decided not to run.

Choosing not to run could work in her favor as she could now be the first black woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. If she and Mr Biden were to win against the Trump / Pence ticket, Ms Rice would become the first woman and the first person of color to hold the post of vice president, with the potential to propel her political career for years to come.

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