There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s casual and arm’s length relationship with Truth is beginning to make an already difficult transition even more difficult. As some time in the future, he’s going to need the nation to believe what he’s saying is true and, unfortunately, he’s rapidly entering (here I date myself) Joe Isuzu country where literally nothing he says can be relied upon to be truthful. Having said that, not everyone is free to make that criticism. No one, for instance, who worked under Barack Obama can criticize Trump for being anything other than an inartful and sloppy liar. And if anyone in the Obama administration should be forbidden to ever discuss someone else’s truthfulness, that person in Susan Rice. And yet:
Susan Rice: When the White House twists the truth, we are all less safe. Why veracity matters to our security. https://t.co/eqkReeBIsG
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) March 22, 2017
Finally, many Americans, not just the broader world, recoil in anxiety and confusion when a U.S. administration fosters counterfactual assertions and projects unpredictability. When the American people question the commander in chief’s statements, his ability to harness public support to confront a national crisis is undermined.
First impressions matter, and an unsettling pattern has already been established. Still, it is possible to mitigate the long-term effects of this vacation from veracity — if the White House and the president quickly and convincingly return to the tradition of endeavoring to tell the truth from the Oval Office and the White House briefing room. If they do not, one is left to wonder whether the damage inflicted on U.S. global leadership is the deliberate derivative of the “deconstruction of the administrative state” or simply the lasting consequence of compulsive mendacity. Either way, the United States’ national security will suffer.
The irony of Susan Rice making this statement is simply stunning in its boldness. On September 11, 2012, the US consulate in Benghazi was sacked after a coordinated attack by an al-Qaeda affiliated group. The US ambassador and three other Americans were needlessly killed because Hillary Clinton denied proper security precautions and held up the dispatch of a relief force. Even though the attack was known almost immediately to be a terror attack, Hillary Clinton persisted in telling people it was brought on by a silly YouTube video. She even told this to the parents of the men killed at Benghazi when she met them as the corpses of their slain loved ones arrived at Dover AFB.
This is not simply partisanship, by the way, this is 100% fact. You can read contemporaneous notes of the first phone call for yourself.
On September 16, Rice appeared on all five major Sunday news shows and claimed the attack was both spontaneous (it wasn’t) and the result of a YouTube video (it wasn’t). This is a sample.
And her State Department colleagues knew, at the time, she was lying:
The State Department’s Senior Libya Desk Officer wrote an email to his colleagues saying, “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.”
“Off the reservation on five networks!” agreed the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
“Yup,” agreed the bureau’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications. “Luckily there’s enough in her language to fudge exactly what she said/meant.”
If her op-ed had spoken about how this and how “if you like your doctor” (eventually named Lie of the Year by Politifact after initially rating the claim “Mostly True”) and the lies around the IRS vendetta against conservative groups and the murders facilitated during Fast & Furious damaged the Obama administration to govern and used her shame as a teaching point, it would have been a useful exercise.
This op-ed is nothing but the worst sort of partisan point-scoring carried out by a woman devoid of even a shred of dignity and integrity and carried by a newspaper that is little better.