Rice’s nomination would open a window for Republicans to change the subject from Trump’s woeful handling of the pandemic, and now the economy, to relitigating their tired Benghazi allegations and endless disputes about “unmasking” Trump campaign officials and the fantasy of “Obamagate.” That’s just noise, but there’s a legitimate case to be made that she protected Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame, a former consulting client of hers, from international efforts to stop the mass atrocities in Congo set off by Rwanda-backed rebels.
Rice’s nemesis Graham says Biden selecting her would “be a good move for Republicans. … I don’t think she’ll wear well.” I don’t much care what Graham thinks; Rice’s sentiments about him are justified, if not her vulgarity. Of more concern is that I heard the exact same warning — choosing Rice won’t “wear well” — earlier this week from one of her former senior colleagues in the Obama White House. It was the latest reminder that Rice has a history of turning allies and opponents alike into enemies.
Most people in politics have sharp elbows, and women often get held to an unfair standard. Even so, the ill will Rice has generated is exceptional. Her f-bombs are legend, to allies at the United Nations, to U.S. diplomats and to administration colleagues. She famously flipped the bird at Richard Holbrooke, told France’s U.N. ambassador that “you’re not going to drag us into your s—ty war” and drew complaints of disrespect from allies on the U.N. Security Council. She gives as good as she gets from Trump, asking on Twitter last Sunday if he “can’t get it up and over the plate” after he said he wouldn’t throw out a first pitch.