June 5th, 2013
07:16 AM ET
10 months ago

Obama's national security adviser to resign, Rice to step in

Updated 8:41 a.m. ET Wednesday 6/5

(CNN) – Susan Rice, United States ambassador to the United Nations, will replace Tom Donilon as President Barack Obama's national security adviser, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

The president will announce the personnel change Wednesday afternoon at the White House, an administration official said.

Samantha Power, former special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council, will take Rice's spot as U.S. ambassador, a senior administration official also said.

Rice, a longtime Obama confidante, became the center of controversy in the days after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, last year after she maintained the attack was a spontaneous act during a protest rather than the terror attack.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah pounced on the staff change Wednesday morning, criticizing Rice for lacking the right judgment for the job.

Rice was considered a top contender to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of Obama's second term, but Republican pushback forced her to withdraw from consideration in December.

Obama ultimately nominated former Sen. John Kerry for the post.

As the Chaffetz tweet indicates, Rice could face renewed political opposition from the GOP in her appointment. The Senate, however, does not have to confirm the president's nominee for national security adviser.

Sen. John McCain, one of Rice's most strident critics in the Benghazi aftermath, wrote Wednesday that he's not pleased with her new role but pledged to work with her nonetheless.

Power, on the other hand, will need approval from the Senate for the ambassadorship. Known as a big proponent for intervening in human rights cases, she was one of the loudest voices making the case to get involved in Libya's civil war.

Power also made headlines in March 2008 for resigning from her role as an adviser to Obama's presidential campaign after she called his then-Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a "monster." Power later apologized to Clinton and the two have put it behind them.

More importantly, both Power and Rice will be dealing with issues like chemical weapons in Syria, unrest across the Middle East and Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program - meaning the attention surrounding their new positions - especially for Power - will be high.

Obama picked Donilon - then deputy national security adviser - to replace retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones for the post in October 2010. Donilon was heavily involved in the raid to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Rice was considered a possible candidate for the job when Jones stepped down, as she was one of Obama's most public foreign policy voices during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Donilon also served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher in the Clinton administration.


Filed under: President Obama • Susan Rice • Tom Donilon • White House
soundoff (296 Responses)
  1. wm Scot

    Back in your face GOP ! I love to see these guys from the other side blow a gasket and show there total distain for anything this president does. Obama could give a rats ass what they think any more so back in your face boys !

    June 5, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. dixie

    POTUS will never learn. He needs to have drama.

    June 5, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  3. Martinque

    Reward for being a good little miss-leader.

    June 5, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  4. general tso

    Forget partisan bickering, simply look at her support of despots such as Kagama of Rwanda, Rawlings of Uganda, Zenawi of Ethiopia, etc., etc., It is apparent that her judgement is questiionable at best. Unfortunately, our president is putting ego and friendship before the well-being of our country. A sad day, whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, or (god forbid) a free thinker.

    June 5, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. Floydzepp

    Lol, the constupidive from Utah is all mad!

    June 5, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. Bob

    This administration seems to reward liars.

    June 5, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  7. uncdig

    Payoff for her silence?

    June 5, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  8. rocky5

    May the good lord bless her

    June 5, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. Loyalright

    I don't trust this woman's judgement so why was she selected and what qualifies her to be National Security Adviser?

    June 5, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  10. mcwreiole

    The cronyism never ends with this President. He further angers Americans with his backroom deals and lack of transparency. Obviously he promised Susan Rice a huge promotion if she went out and lied to the American people, Americans already said NO to Susan Rice, but he persists in shoving her down our throats in an important position that she is unqualified to hold. I don't believe Susan Rice is a bad person, just a hapless fool used by this President.

    June 5, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. Anna Maria

    He had to give her something for crawling under the bus for him. Typical, self-serving Washington.

    June 5, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  12. Deweena

    Hey Jason, it's spelled "judgment." That alone should disqualify you from your seat.

    June 5, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. Standard Really

    Anyone else think it was Condeleeza at first?

    June 5, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Mo

    Way to go Mr. Obama! Show your unending support for those involved in so many scandals and coverups.. You wouldn't want to have them tell anything they might know about your own involvement.

    June 5, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Charlie Daniels

    Typical of this administration. Lie for your superiors and you shall be rewarded.

    June 5, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  16. AC

    Why not do the right thing and OUTLAW the GOP.

    June 5, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. chet

    We knew this was coming months ago. Rice is getting the payback for taking the heat earlier. She'll do what she is told and is a smart political woman.

    June 5, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  18. tiz

    what a joke this president has become......

    June 5, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Congressman Chaffetz of Utah said"judgement is key to national security matters. That alone should disqualify Susan Rice from her appointment." Gee, who was President, National Security Advisor and Defense Secretary when our nation was attacked on 9/11/01 Mr. Chaffetz?

    June 5, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. mike blow

    She took the politically correct action and now is being rewarded no big surprise here

    June 5, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  21. Carl

    Well done, Obama. That's showing 'em! This cements the notion that you are a hack of the worst kind. And any Liberal who is willing to follow your lead is a traitor to this country.

    June 5, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. marc

    She told magnificent lies and some filmmaker still sits in jail, blamed for the Benghazi attacks. But hey, the lies got Obama re-elected, so here's your reward. Now go on ABC News (which your husband runs) and I promise they'll never raise the issue.

    June 5, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  23. zaskar

    Obama"s joke on the american people again!

    June 5, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  24. Reality Check

    I dont get it...97 GOP Congressmen wrote to Obama NOT to nominate Rice...yet he does...then he says he wants to work with Republicans...I can see a WHOLE lot of nothing coming out of this WH and Congress....

    June 5, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  25. Rosaura Torres

    I know she will do a outstanding job!! Republicans needs to stop crying like a bunch of babies.....

    June 5, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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