White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday castigated Democrats for comparing the recent ambush in Niger to the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack, calling it a "cheap attempt" to taint President Donald Trump.
Four American soldiers were ambushed and killed on Oct. 4 during a joint mission with the Niger military in West Africa, which has prompted some Democrats to compare the situation to the 2012 tragedy that took place while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. The Obama administration was criticized, largely along partisan lines, for its handling of the attack, and castigated for lying to Americans about the level of knowledge it had about growing unrest in the region prior to the attack.
The White House press secreatary was asked about the comparison by Fox News' Steve Doocy.
"Democrats are calling this particular event 'President Trump's Benghazi,' which is unusual because that means they think it's a big thing although when President Obama was president, they did not regard Benghazi as a big deal, some," Doocy said.
"Look, these are not comparable events. I know that the Democrats want to make this a big negative attack piece against this president," Sanders said. "Look this is still an active investigation. We're still under review. I think Gen. Dunford did an incredible job yesterday kind of laying out the facts of what we know at this point, but to try to compare the two is simply just a cheap attempt by Democrats to try to taint this president."
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, addressed the media at the Pentagon on Monday, describing the global strategy against forces supported by ISIS and Al Qaeda who have expanded operations in Africa.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Sanders whether she thought that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis would go further than Dunford in explaining what happened in the Niger mission.
"I think that once we have more information and the full review is complete, then I think that you'll have a lot of those details," Sanders said. "As Gen. Dunford said, the big priority is making sure that we get the information to the families who lost someone in this mission. And that's certainly our responsibility, and certainly the priority that the Department of Defense and Gen. Dunford and Gen. Mattis have both laid out."
She went on to say that she doesn't think Mattis or Dunford will stop until they get all the answers so they can provide them to the American people.
Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson (Fla.) likened the Niger ambush to Benghazi on Twitter over the weekend as part of what has been an on-going feud with Trump. The feud began after she gave several interviews and accused Trump of being "insensitive" when he called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson last week before the fallen soldier's ceremonial homecoming at Miami International Airport.
"Niger is @realDonaldTrump's Benghazi. He needs to own it," Wilson tweeted.
Niger is @realDonaldTrump's Benghazi. He needs to own it.
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 22, 2017