A Democratic impeachment witness has come under fire this week for comparing her struggles with Trump administration officials to the dangers faced by four Americans killed in a 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch received a standing ovation Friday in departing a meeting of the House Intelligence Committee where she testified for six hours, leveling strong accusations against President Donald Trump regarding the Ukraine scandal and his treatment of the U.S. foreign service.
But catching the eye of numerous social media users was Yovanovitch’s invocation of deceased Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Shawn Patrick Smith and U.S. military contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty while discussing her dismissal from the role of ambassador in May.
“The State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage,” Yovanovitch said, testifying under oath to claims the president and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani had strong-armed her out in service to their own interests.
“We are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Shaun Patrick Smith, Ty Woods, and Glenn Doherty. People rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation’s foreign policy interests in Libya eight years ago.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 15, 2019
“As I close, let me be clear on who we are and how we serve this country,” Yovanovitch said. “We are people who repeatedly uproot our lives, who risk — and sometimes give — our lives for this country.”
“We are the 52 Americans who 40 years ago this month began 444 days of deprivation, torture and captivity in Teheran,” the former ambassador continued. “We are the dozens of Americans stationed at our embassy in Cuba and consulates in China, who mysteriously and dangerously — and in some cases perhaps even permanently — were injured in attacks from unknown sources several years ago.”
“We are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty,” she went on, “people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation’s foreign policy interests in Libya eight years ago.”
The former ambassador had not yet left the stand when her remarks broke headlines, sparking a firestorm among political correspondents and everyday citizens alike.
For 2012 Republican presidential primary candidate and political commentator Herman Cain, it was “at best an awful comparison” and at worst “a completely grotesque distortion.”
— Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain) November 15, 2019
Amb Yovanovitch’s invoking of those killed in Benghazi — in a bid to protect herself — during this impeachment inquiry is utterly sickening
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) November 15, 2019
“Amb Yovanovitch’s invoking of those killed in Benghazi — in a bid to protect herself — during this impeachment inquiry is utterly sickening,” senior Federalist contributor Benjamin Weingarten wrote.
The September 11, 2012 deaths of Stevens, Smith, Woods and Doherty — which took place during a nighttime assault on the U.S. consulate in the city of Benghazi, Libya — struck a heavy chord with the American people.
It would later come to light that the deceased and their compatriots had made numerous requests for additional protection throughout the year to no avail, CNN reported.
Stevens was one of the first to die during the assault, believed to have asphyxiated while taking shelter in the burning consulate.
He was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in an attack since 1979, according to The Washington Post.
Both Woods and Doherty were killed by a mortar blast while defending the CIA compound, The Post reported.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking members of the Obama administration would on several occasions claim an anti-Islamic film had served as a catalyst for the attacks, according to Fox News.
Those claims were later revealed to be false.
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