How does she still have job?: Susan Rice tries and fails to defend the White House’s Bergdahl narrative

Nearly a week after she appeared on ABC News’ This Week to try to frame the narrative on the Obama administration’s deal with the Taliban, Susan Rice defended her characterization of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by telling CNN that she meant something entirely different than what she actually said:

Speaking to CNN’s Jim Acosta from the 70th anniversary event to mark D-Day in Normandy, France, Rice said her remark about Bergdahl was describing his decision to enter the military in war time.

“I realize there has been a lot of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said to CNN about that remark. “What I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That in itself is a very honorable thing.”

“But ‘honor and distinction?’” Acosta asked.

“Jim, really,” Rice said. “This is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about.”
[…]
“He is, as all Americans, innocent until proven guilty,” Rice said. “He is now being tried in the court of public opinion after having gone through enormously traumatic five years of captivity. His parents, the same.”

Oh, whatever. Rice said, in no uncertain terms, that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction,” and this was in the context of, as George Stephanopoulos put it, “questions about how he originally was captured and whether or not he had deserted, had left his post.”

The what the public now knows is a very different story than what the White House and administration officials tried to present. Those who served with Bergdahl have a very different opinion of him and his actions, disputing the notion that he “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

Here’s the thing, Rice has a point in that Bergdahl is “innocent until proven guilty” in terms of the legal process, though it remains to be seen whether he will face formal charges for desertion, and it’s important to remember that this is an accusations. The Army, for its part, is going to investigate.

But with all of this said, maybe the White House should stop trying to frame narratives on Sunday talk shows. Susan Rice has, at least twice now, tried to echo the administration’s talking point only to watch the talking points blow up shortly thereafter.

The first time Rice did this came after Benghazi, when she repeated talking points suggesting that the attack was a protest against anti-Islam YouTube video that went awry rather than an act of terrorism. She said earlier this year that she had no regrets for putting out the false narrative.

Here’s the video of Rice’s full comments to CNN. The relevant portion begins at the 1:35 mark, though the whole clip is worth watching:


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