Libya And Egypt Attacks: How U.S. Politicians Reacted To Unfolding Events Abroad

A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Bengha
A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. An armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and set fire to the building, killing one American, witnesses and officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)

Here is a timeline of how politicians reacted to events in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, over Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.


Shortly before noon, EDT: The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issues a statement condemning the video promoted by anti-Muslim Florida pastor Terry Jones. "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," it reads. "Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

A mob gathers outside the embassy in Cairo throughout the day, and some storm the compound by nightfall. The embassy tweets that it stood by its statement as its compound is entered.

10:09 p.m.: The Mitt Romney campaign sends out a statement embargoed for release after midnight -- in other words, after the 9/11 truce for the presidential campaign has ended -- attacking the Obama administration's response to incidents in Libya and Egypt. "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi," Romney says. "It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

10:10 p.m.: Politico reports that the Obama administration is disavowing the statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

10:25 p.m.: The embargo on Romney's statement is prematurely lifted.

10:44 p.m.: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.


12:01 a.m.: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus tweets, "Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic."

12:09 a.m.: Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt responds, "We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack."

Sometime after midnight: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin pens a stinging Facebook post: "Apparently President Obama can't see Egypt and Libya from his house." She asks when President Obama will speak out. "If he doesn't have a 'big stick' to carry, maybe it's time for him to grow one."

6:06 a.m.: The Associated Press tweets that Libyan officials say U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staffers were killed at the Benghazi consulate, which was under attack by a mob with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

7:21 a.m.: President Obama issues a statement condemning the deaths in Benghazi, including the death of Ambassador Stevens. "Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives."

8:38 a.m.: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) condemns the attack on Americans in Libya, without criticizing Obama.

9:14 a.m.: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issues a statement much along the same lines, condemning the attacks.

9:16 a.m.: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) condemns the attacks.

9:52 a.m.: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) condemn the attacks. "We cannot resign ourselves to the false belief that the Arab Spring is doomed to be defined not by the desire for democracy and freedom that has inspired millions of people to peaceful action, but by the dark fanaticism of terrorists," they say.

10:32 a.m.: Priebus tweets again, "Our prayers are w/Ambassador Stevens’ family and the families of those killed in the attacks in Libya. We mourn their loss and grieve w/them"

For more coverage, check out HuffPost's liveblog.



Attack On U.S. Compound In Benghazi