12:35 PM 05/10/2013
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wrote Friday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “should never hold high office again” in the wake of criticism over the administration’s handling of the lead up and aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Paul made the comments in an op-ed Friday in The Washington Times.
Testimony from several whistle-blowers at at hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday contradicted Clinton’s account of the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, as well as the version of events put forward by the administration. Republicans have seized on the testimony and are demanding further answers from the administration. Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that Clinton, who no longer holds the post of secretary of state, should be brought back before Congress to testify again in light of the new information, and subpoenaed if necessary.
When Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year, Paul told her that had he been president during the time of the attacks, he would have relieved her of her post. In his column, he doubled down on that.
“The secretary of state’s responsibility is to protect our diplomats. Mrs. Clinton should have been relieved of her post for denying pleas for additional security,” he said.
He added that Congress needs to continue its focus on the issue and establish who was behind the attack that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“It is imperative that we continue to ask: Who was responsible?” he wrote.
“Too many questions remain unanswered. Now, there are too many new questions. The evidence we had in January already suggested that Mrs. Clinton ignored repeated requests for more security in Benghazi,” Paul concluded. “The new evidence we have today — and that continues to mount — suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.”
Paul has made no secret of his 2016 presidential ambitions, and the op-ed comes as he heads to Iowa — the state that holds the first nominating contest for presidential candidates — for the weekend. Those ambitions could very possibly pit him directly against Clinton, who early polls show to be the Democrat front-runner should she decide to run.
Republican groups have already begun to use the Benghazi testimony to attack her politically. Both America Rising, a Republican research group founded by former Romney and RNC staffers, and American Crossroads came out with web ads this week using her words against her.