The husband of one of Susan Rice’s top deputies at the United Nations intimated on Twitter on Saturday that he would prefer someone other than John Kerry be appointed the next secretary of state, now that Rice is out of the running.
Bruce Jones, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution and the husband of Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens, the U.S. Representative on the U.N. Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the U.N. General Assembly, tweeted two comments seemingly disparaging the prospect of a Kerry nomination.
The tweets came a day after Rice withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of state after significant opposition to her candidacy, led by Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, emerged on Capitol Hill.
One tweet was in reply to a tweet by foreign policy commentator Ian Bremmer, who asked, “Susan Rice supporters, why the long face? Obama taps Sen John Kerry as SecState.”
Jones pithily replied, “That’s why the long face.”
Jones also suggested that he would prefer someone other than Kerry at State in response to a tweet by Brookings Institution colleague Tom Wright, who said Rice would not be able to become the next national security adviser for Obama as long as Tom Donilon was in that role, and that Donilon was unlikely to leave unless he was nominated for secretary of state or CIA director.
“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 in response.
After Rice removed her name from contention for secretary of state, reports suggested that Rice’s main contender for the job, Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, was in fact going to be nominated for the post. Some reports also suggested that Rice could become a future national security adviser for Obama, which wouldn’t require Senate confirmation. But Donilon, the man who currently holds the post, has not expressed any interest in leaving it.
In an email to The Daily Caller, Jones said that in the latter tweet he was just “speculating on alternatives” and not making any comment as to Kerry’s suitability for the job.
“For the record, think Kerry at State very strong move substantively — was only thinking about the political question of whether the Senate seat opens up,” he wrote. “Kerry is self-evidently superbly qualified to be Sec State.”
Asked whether there was any animus towards Kerry among those close to Rice or whether Rice confidantes believe the Massachusetts senator may have been behind the anti-Rice campaign on Capitol Hill, Jones said he had “absolutely no idea about that.”
“Above my pay grade,” he added.
According to an op-ed Jones published the day after Rice withdrew herself from consideration for secretary of state, which defended Rice’s tenure at the United Nations, Rice is a “family friend” and a “former colleague at Brookings,” besides being his wife’s boss.
By the time of publication, Jones had not replied to a late night email requesting comment on the first tweet.
In an email Tuesday morning, Jones responded to the first tweet, which seemed more disparaging of Kerry.
“[T]he point was just that it wasn’t tapping Susan,” he wrote. “Kerry’s a fantastic choice — it’s just that I would have loved to see Susan do it, and irrespective of whether she ended up doing it I hated how she was treated.”
“PS – Whatever I do or don’t think, it’s my own view,” he added in another email.