Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) implied he would block anyone President Obama appointed to lead the Department of State — especially current U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice — if they were at all involved with the handling of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, Graham called the consulate “a death trap for months” and suggested he would prevent anyone involved in the Administration’s response to the attack from taking the top job at State:
GRAHAM: I do reserve unto myself and other members of congress the ability to say no when justified. I cannot imagine promoting anybody associated with Benghazi at this point. …
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, would you try to lead a move to block her [Ambassador Rice] from getting the nomination if in fact she is nominated?
GRAHAM: I’m not entertaining promoting anybody that I think was involved with Benghazi debacle.
While it’s certainly true that Benghazi was a terrible tragedy, there’s simply no evidence that it was the sort of massive, disqualifying scandal that Graham says it is. Detailed, exhaustive reporting on the issue has shown that there was no “smoking gun” of a coverup nor any massive failure to respond to the attack with proportionate force. This wealth of evidence has led former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, no Democratic partisan, to say that the massive overreaction from people like Graham is overblown and that “it’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work.”
Graham’s hard line on this non-issue is in line with the combative, obstructionist tone taken by his boss, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell, who said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president” last term, is now ruling out any compromise with the President and Congressional Democrats on taxes.
The first sentence was changed to from “Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) promised to block anyone President Obama appointed to lead the Department of State” to “Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) implied he would block anyone President Obama appointed to lead the Department of State” to reflect the fact that, while Graham did say he would likely vote against Ambassador Rice if nominated, that he did not commit to taking any more aggressive steps such as placing a hold on her nomination.