President Barack Obama's elevating of U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to White House national security adviser was "a flip of a certain finger in the face of the American people," former Florida Rep. Allen West said on Wednesday.
"I can only describe it as inept, incompetent, and absolutely arrogant," West, who lost his GOP re-election bid last year, told Neil Cavuto on Fox News. "When you’re talking about the lack of trust that people now have in the president, for him to advance someone who lied to the American people and misled the American people, that’s a reflection back on him and his character — and also his judgment."
Obama named Rice to succeed Tom Donilon as national security adviser. She does not need to be confirmed to the post by the Senate.
The president also nominated former White House aide Samantha Power to replace Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Power, who faces confirmation, is a human rights advocate and expert on genocide.
Last September, Rice was heavily criticized by Republicans after appearing on five Sunday talk shows and describing the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans as the "spontaneous" outgrowth of protests over an anti-Muslim video.
Her assessment came from "talking points" that had been heavily edited at the request of the State Department.
Rice was later accused of misleading the American people about what happened after the administration was forced to acknowledge that al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists had carried out the attack independent of any protests.
Obama later nominated Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. But many Republicans, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said that Rice would never be confirmed because of her erroneous statements about the Libyan attacks, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.
Rice later withdrew her name from consideration.
West told Cavuto on Wednesday that Rice’s promotion to national security adviser showed that President Obama was a "petty, personal type of person and not a professional.
"He should be looking at doing what is right for the entire country. When you're talking about our national security, we're at an incredible tipping point."
West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, cited a number of world hotspots — the Middle East, China, Turkey, Iran — as the reason for a strong national security strategy for the United States.
"Now is not the time to play petty, political games, which is what I think the president did today," he said.
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