Calling the move "inept, incompetent and absolutely arrogant," former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of having flipped "a certain finger in the face of the American people" with his decision to name former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice as his new national security adviser.
In an interview on Fox News, West suggested that Obama was a "petty, personal type of person and not a professional" for promoting Rice, despite Republicans' outspoken criticism of her media appearances in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11.
"I think that when you question someone that clearly misled and lied to the American people, that's not being petty," West said. "That's asking for this government, which was supposed to be the most transparent in the history of this country, to indeed be transparent and to be honest and truthful with the American people."
Rice has claimed she was relying on talking points crafted by the administration and the CIA, which inaccurately suggested that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous act sparked by an anti-Islam YouTube video. But many Republicans have not been willing to let Rice off the hook, continuing to accuse her of deliberately mischaracterizing the nature of the siege, which left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead.
West had led the charge on Rice during his time in Congress, taking to Fox News less than a week after the attack to describe her as "asinine, naive, inept, incompetent and borderline ignorant."
Despite the apparent Republican outrage, no Senate confirmation is needed for Rice's elevation. On Wednesday, Obama announced that she would be replacing outgoing National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, calling her a "fierce champion for justice and human decency."
While West is no longer in Congress, the inflammatory nature of his criticism of the administration has remained consistent from his perch outside Washington. On Wednesday, his political action committee sent out a fundraising email suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder was a bigger threat to the nation than Al Qaeda.