The Making of a President: The House Select Committee on Benghazi


How Kevin McCarthy and Republicans failed in their attempts to ruin the Clinton campaign

What do you call a partisan witch hunt that fails to such an extent that it actually promotes the one person that the trials intended to harm?

The House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Sitting before 12 congressmen from both the Republican and the Democratic parties, Hillary Clinton was assailed with mordant questions regarding her role in the 2012 attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. This much anticipated testimony by the former Secretary of State occurred on Oct. 22, 2015.  

Instead of cracking under pressure, Clinton maintained a calm exterior, answered all belligerent questions with poise and sometimes even indulged in a few humorous comments.

While this trial intended to prove Clinton’s negligence in increasing security that may have protected the Americans who died in the Benghazi attacks, Clinton emerged largely unscathed and appeared presidential while the House Republicans often looked like carping children, asking questions about whom Clinton shared a bed with the night of the attack.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is greatly to blame for the failures of the Benghazi trial. One month before the Clinton testimony, McCarthy said in an interview with Fox News, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

McCarthy exposed the true motives of the trials: to ruin the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign, not to figure out the truth regarding the 2012 attacks. Following these destructive claims, McCarthy backed out of his campaign to be Speaker of the House, begging the question: who really was the loser of this Benghazi select committee?

As a result of McCarthy’s untimely comments, the select committee refrained from asking questions about Clinton’s private email server until Fox News and other media outlets had left. During the 11th hour of the trial, however, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan attacked Clinton on her usage of a private email server and the reportedly confidential information sent from that email.

Clinton addressed the never-ending questions about her private server calmly and succinctly. “I have been releasing my emails to the public. That is transparency,” Clinton said. “So far as I know, I am the only government official who has ever done that.”

Even Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who would only benefit from critiquing Clinton, backed her up in the most recent Democratic debate, saying “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your [expletive] emails.”

Although Clinton’s response to her emails was successful in ending discussion, the one response that truly exemplified Clinton’s performance in the 11-hour hearing occurred following Jordan’s questions regarding the motives of the attack. He alleged that the Obama administration had blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim video to avoid stating that the attack had been conducted by al-Qaida, which would have hurt President Barack Obama’s claims that he had defeated the terrorist organization.

Clinton, in response, claimed she had no idea about the motives of the assault on the Libyan compound in the hours after the attack.“I am sorry that it doesn’t fit your narrative, congressman. I can only tell you what the facts are,” she said.

With this consummate example of her political skill, Clinton mocked the congressman and elucidated the fact that the Benghazi committee did not want to find out the truth but rather they desired to make Clinton look like an ineffective, American-killing bureaucrat who should not work in the Oval Office.

Her humor and gaiety in response to the question showed Clinton could remain calm under fire, a key to being a successful president. If elected in 2016, Clinton would have to deal with Republican congressmen on a daily basis and here she proved she could stand her ground.

I am not alone in this belief. Between 9 and 10 p.m. on the Thursday of the Benghazi hearing, the Clinton campaign raised over $100,000 online, according to Clinton’s Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri.

All the Benghazi trials did was prove Hillary Clinton has the poise of a president and it resulted in some hilarious GIFs of the presidential candidate as well.