Benghazi Divides Florida House Delegation on Party Lines
Around the State
Even as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, prepares to launch a House committee to investigate the way the Obama administration handled the attacks in Benghazi, Florida’s delegation shows signs of dividing along party lines on the matter.
Boehner announced last week that he would create a committee to look into Obama’s response to the Benghazi attack in which four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed.
“The administration's withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built,” Boehner added. “And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?”
As Democrats insisted the new committee was being formed for political purposes, including undermining former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances in 2016, Republicans from Florida cheered Boehner’s decision.
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is backing U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf‘s, R-Va., bill for a select committee to investigate the matter and praised Boehner‘s announcement.
“For two years the administration has stonewalled congressional investigations into the Benghazi terror attack,” DeSantis said. “I have been calling for a select committee since I took office, and I fully support giving them every tool necessary to investigate what happened that night. The American people deserve to know the truth.”
Even Republicans who have generally opposed Boehner fell in line behind the decision. U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., voted against Boehner for speaker but still praised the speaker for launching the committee.
“I applaud the speaker for officially calling for a formal investigation into the White House’s response to the events of Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi,” Yoho said. “The attack on our diplomatic post in Libya was not sparked by a video. Though individuals attempted to dupe the American people into believing the mob was retaliating in response to the video, it was a terrorist attack, plain and simple. To this day, no one has been brought to justice, and those truly responsible for the safety of our mission in Libya have not been held accountable for the deaths of four Americans -- four deaths that never should have happened.
"Individuals in the State Department and the administration must be held responsible for their inaction and the lack of security authorized to protect that compound,” Yoho added. “Lastly and more importantly, we must and will track down the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice for the murder of our fellow American citizens.”
But Democrats in the Florida delegation continue to insist Boehner was more concerned with politics than in pursuing justice.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., told CBS 12 that she had no doubts the investigation was all about 2016.
"This is about Hillary Clinton running for president and the Republicans trying to stop her," Frankel told CBS 12. "It's a show and it depends upon the members appointed to the committee if they want to be part of the show."
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) also insisted it was about politics. Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz suggested it was a partisan ploy, echoing Democrats’ unhappiness that the committee will contain seven Republicans and five Democrats, ignoring the fact the GOP controls the House.
“Let’s call this what it is," Wasserman Schultz said. “It is nothing more than a political ploy because continuing to focus obsessively on repealing the Affordable Care Act has lost its luster, even among their own party members.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.