Hillary Clinton spent part of Monday night, as well as the last year and a half, trying to convince the American people why she’s the best choice to be the next president of the United States. The entirety of her pitch seems to be that she’s the most qualified candidate due to her record as a U.S. senator and secretary of state. But, in reality, it is her record as secretary of state that disqualifies her from consideration.
Look no further than Clinton’s disastrous handling of the situation in Libya. For Clinton it was simple: Libya was supposed to be the crowning jewel of the Clinton-Obama foreign policy. It was the perfect example of how it’s supposed to work: no boots on the ground, oust a dictator, and help usher in the Arab spring.
But Libya – specifically Benghazi – turned out to be anything but a crowning achievement and, in fact, would ultimately disqualify Clinton from ever serving as commander-in-chief.
For months, the Clinton State Department failed to heed numerous warnings about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi. When other nations pulled out of Libya, U.S. assets remained on the ground, despite the fact that more than 200 security incidents took place. In fact, Benghazi had gotten so dangerous that one State Department diplomatic security agent called it a “suicide mission” and said “there was a very good chance that everyone was going to die,” referring to Americans remaining in the country.
But the State Department ignored these warnings. Nothing would get in the way of the Clinton-Obama foreign policy legacy.
And then it happened.
On Sept. 11, 2012, Ambassador Chris Stevens’ residence in Benghazi was overrun in a coordinated terrorist assault carried out by an al-Qaida-aligned group. The attack claimed the lives of Stevens and Sean Smith, a U.S. foreign service officer. The residence was torched and the ambassador was dragged through the streets. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.
Next, the coordinated terrorist attack hit the CIA annex building, roughly a mile away, where occupants endured hours of assault. That attack ultimately claimed the lives of CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
But before the attack had even ended in Benghazi – and before any U.S. military assets were ever deployed to assist Americans – the political spin in Washington began. While Woods was still on the roof of the CIA annex fighting for his life, Clinton, presidential adviser Ben Rhodes, and other Obama administration officials were trying to reclaim the narrative with a 10:08p.m. State Department press release.
They would soon go on television and blame the coordinated terrorist assault on a YouTube video, claiming the attack started as a spontaneous protest in response to the video.
Think about that: A spontaneous protest using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, and truck-mounted artillery.
Publicly, Clinton allowed one story to be told to the American people, while she told a very different story – the truth – privately. She and her cohorts publicly blamed “inflammatory material posted on the internet” even as privately she told her daughter that terrorists had killed our people. She also told the Egyptian prime minister that it was a planned attack, not a protest.
Repeatedly, she claimed there was no information to suggest it was a pre-planned attack – despite a senior State Department official in Libya saying it was a well-planned attack.
Remember the context: This took place 56 days before a presidential election and the Clinton-Obama foreign policy legacy was on the line. At every turn Clinton was more concerned with politics than getting the truth to the American people – including the victims’ families.
When Sean Smith’s remains were being returned to the United States, Clinton told his mother that the video was responsible. She also told Tyrone Woods’ father that she was going to have the filmmaker responsible arrested, knowing full well that this was a coordinated terrorist attack and that no U.S. forces had taken off before the attack had ended.
For Clinton, politics trumped the truth and honoring the memories of the lives lost in Benghazi. That alone disqualifies her from ever being commander-in-chief.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R, Ohio, serves on the Benghazi Select Committee and is the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. He wrote this for The Philadelphia Inquirer.