Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign stop at in Davie, Fla., last week. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton says House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s suggestion that the select committee investigating Benghazi was summoned to derail her 2016 presidential bid is “deeply distressing” because it dishonors the four Americans who died in the terror attacks.
“I knew the ambassador [Christopher Stevens] that we lost in Benghazi,” Clinton told the Rev. Al Sharpton in an interview that aired on MSNBC Sunday. “Along with him, we lost three other brave Americans who were representing us in a very dangerous part of the world.”
Last week, McCarthy, who has been expected to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner this month, said the committee should be credited with the Democratic frontrunner’s slide in recent polls.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy said on Fox News. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers Friday? What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.”
“When I hear a statement like that — which demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise — I feel like it does a grave disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that we lost, but of everybody who has served our country,” Clinton said. “I really regret the way that they have treated this serious matter.”
The former secretary of state said that there have been attacks on embassies in previous administrations, including her husband’s, but they have “never been turned into a partisan political battle by the majority in Congress, the way the Republicans in this Congress have done.”
Clinton is scheduled to testify before the committee on Oct. 22.
In the wake of McCarthy’s comments, leading Democrats — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — called to disband the committee, but Boehner rejected those calls.
“This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be,” Boehner said in a statement. “The members of this committee have worked diligently and professionally to fulfill this important mission, and they will continue to do so.”