While the rumor mill buzzes with reports that President Barack Obama will name Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry to be the nation’s next Secretary of State, United Nations ambassador Susan Rice’s team appears to be taking one last shot at Rice’s detractors – and angling to keep her in the mix for another top gig at the National Security Council (NSC).
Bruce Jones of the Brookings Institution, the husband of close Rice ally Elizabeth Cousens, took a shot at Kerry and Rice’s GOP detractors on Monday. Cousens is an ambassador who reports to Rice, serving as the U.S. Representative on the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly. Before Cousens took up her current gig, she was one of Rice’s top personal advisers.
“Rice at NSC, Donillon at State a strong move. Also, McCain and co just got a scalp; why reward them with Kerry's seat?” Jones tweeted on Monday.
Jones is referring to how Rice announced she’d drop her name from consideration as a potential replacement to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who’s resigning early next year. It appeared for a while that Rice would try to weather the storm surrounding her involvement in the scandal that erupted after the Benghazi terrorist attacks – and her role in providing inaccurate information to the American people on five different Sunday news programs when upper echelons of the administration were aware the information she was providing was inaccurate.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was among those leading the charge against Rice’s consideration for the Secretary of State spot. When Rice announced she wouldn’t take the job, reports citing anonymous sources pointed to Kerry as the guy who’ll get the gig.
McCain and other Senate Republicans have indicated they’d support Kerry for the job.
As for Jones’ suggestion of Obama’s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon for the Secretary of State spot, Jones’ Brookings Institution colleague Tom Wright tweeted that Donilon likely “won't want to leave” his current gig unless he’s nominated for CIA director or Secretary of State. Wright added that Donilon would “have [a] tough confirmation” process.
Jones wrote a piece for the Brookings Institution published Monday, too, that defended Rice’s reputation. In it, he admits he has “personal ties to her [Rice].” In a footnote to the report, Jones notes his “personal ties” to Rice include: “Susan Rice is a family friend; a former colleague at Brookings; and my wife has worked for her at USUN for the past four years.”
“Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name for consideration for the position of Secretary of State was characteristic: putting country and loyalty to the president first,” Jones wrote in his defense of Rice. “It’s America’s loss. For the past two months, Susan Rice has been the subject of a sustained and plainly political attack over her comments about Benghazi.”
It’s unclear if Jones has insider information, or if he’s just publicly espousing bitterness on behalf of his friend Rice. He didn’t respond to a request from Breitbart News to clarify.
Either way, though, it’s clear Team Susan Rice still isn’t getting along with other Democrats. There’s been deep division between Rice’s camp and supporters of more mainstream Democrats like Clinton since the 2008 election.
Rice was the Obama campaign staffer who publicly struck back against the “3 a.m. call” message Clinton hit Obama with during the gruesome 2008 Democratic primary. She was the Obama campaign’s foreign policy adviser.
“Clinton hasn’t had to answer the phone at three o’clock in the morning and yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready,” Rice said then. “They’re both not ready to have that 3 a.m. phone call.”
Asked for comment on the matter, Richard Grenell – the spokesman for the last four ambassadors to the United Nations – told Breitbart News that he “found it interesting that no Democratic female senators were defending Susan Rice or her skills.”
“It seems to me that even the Democratic activists weren’t supportive of Rice but want John Kerry,” Grenell said.