U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
NBC News reports that Rice informed President Barack Obama of her decision in a letter, citing the strong opposition to her candidacy from Republicans on the Hill.
“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,” her letter said, according to NBC News.
“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. … Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”
Republicans in the Senate have threatened to block Rice’s nomination, largely because of comments she made after the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
Rice’s critics said she improperly attributed the attack to a “spontaneous” demonstration spurred by an anti-Islam video, when the intelligence community had already determined the attack was a calculated terrorist strike. (RELATED — Sen. Susan Collins after meeting with Rice: John Kerry would be an “excellent” pick for secretary of state”)
Rice has insisted she was simply repeating the talking points given to her by the intelligence community.
In a statement, President Obama accepted Rice’s decision to withdrawal her name from consideration and said he was grateful she would remain in her role at the U.N.
“Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for secretary of state,” the president said.
“I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team, carrying her work forward on all of these and other issues. I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come, and know that I will continue to rely on her as an advisor and friend.”
The president also denounced the Republican attacks on Rice, calling them “misleading.” (RELATED — Susan Rice warns: “People know not to mess with me”)
While Rice will continue on in her role as ambassador to the U.N. for the time being, Bloomberg News reports that President Obama is considering bringing her to the White House as his National Security Adviser, a post currently held by Tom Donilon. Rice would not have to be confirmed by the Senate for that role.
With Rice out of contention for secretary of state, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is now considered to be the leading candidate for the post.