Barack Obama shamelessly appointed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Tom Donilon as White House national security adviser on Wednesday, saying he was “thrilled.” Obama thumbed his nose at those who have lambasted Rice for her anemic performance as U.N. ambassador as well as her comments after the Benghazi massacre where she said an anti-Islam video was responsible. He said, “I am absolutely thrilled she’ll be back at my side, leading my national security team in my second term.” Obama said he was “extraordinarily proud” of Rice’s efforts at the U.N. and added that she was “passionate and pragmatic” and could throw “the occasional elbow.”
The office of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation, so Rice’s appointment is assured. She, in turn, said she was “deeply grateful” for the president’s “enduring confidence” in her.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama was “not at all” concerned that appointing Rice would inflame the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi scandal. He defended Rice by asserting that there was “ample demonstration” that her Benghazi comments were based on erroneous information from the intelligence community, and those who differed with his assessment were “irresponsible.”
The GOP was split in their reaction; John McCain predictably went soft, tweeting, “Obviously I disagree w/ POTUS appointment of Susan Rice as Nat’l Security Adviser, but I’ll make every effort to work w/ her on imp’t issues.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, admitted that he met with Rice before the announcement and told her he looked forward to working together.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wouldn’t capitulate; he said, “I still have a great deal of questions. I really question the president’s judgment in promoting someone who was complicit in misleading the American public.”