Amid ongoing controversy, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has formally withdrawn her candidacy for nomination to Secretary of State, NBC reported this afternoon. Rice announced her plans to withdraw in a letter to President Barack Obama that was obtained by the network.
For months, Rice has been under fire for her handling of public relations following the Sept. 11 attacks on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. Rice made the rounds on Sunday morning news talk shows following the tragedy and attributed the violence to a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim video, though evidence would later prove it was a planned terrorist attack.
Republicans say Rice knew she was delivering misinformation to the American people; Democrats say she was sticking to approved talking points.
Though a number of senators declared that they would oppose a Rice nomination, the White House has publicly backed Rice at every turn.
“If they want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” Obama told the press shortly after his reelection.
In Rice’s letter, she told Obama that the political trade-off was too great to continue to pursue the Secretary of State nomination.
“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly ??? to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” she wrote.
Rice’s self-removal from the field clears the way for the possible nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to head the State Department. While Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is hardly beloved by conservatives, the promotion would leave his Massachusetts Senate seat vacant and potentially allow state Republicans a chance to re-take the seat.
None of this means Rice will go un-promoted though; Obama is rumored to be considering the ambassador for the position of National Security Adviser, which would keep her close to the presidency and bypass the Senate confirmation process entirely.