WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin is opposing the possible nomination of Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
In a letter sent to President Obama on Monday, Griffin and 96 other House Republicans said they are “deeply troubled” that she is being considered for the top diplomatic post.
“We believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador (Christopher) Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility,” they wrote.
Clinton has indicated that she does not plan to serve in Obama’s second administration and will step down as secretary of state.
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., slammed Rice’s critics during an interview Tuesday on CNN’s “Starting Point,” noting racist undertones in describing the U.S. Representative to the United Nations as incompetent.
“These kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were born and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all our lives and we’d get insulted by them,” Clyburn said. “Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find.”
Griffin, R-Little Rock, dismissed Clyburn’s accusations as nonsense.
“That is completely ridiculous,” he said.
Griffin said his objections to Rice go directly to the statements she made following the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that portrayed the incident as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic movie.
“We were mislead about the role of a YouTube video of all things,” he said.
Beyond that, Griffin questioned Rice’s temperament for the job saying she can be confrontational.
“There are many others who can fill that role and who would behave more like a diplomat,” he said.
Under the Constitution, the Senate is responsible for providing “advice and consent” for presidential appointments. But that does not mean that members of the House cannot weigh in, Griffin said.
Griffin is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.