WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Friday called Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an "American patriot" after a group of Republican lawmakers accused her of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political organization.
"She has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear," Obama said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"The American people owe her a debt of gratitude because Huma is an American patriot and an example of what we need in this country -- more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit."
In June, Representative Michele Bachmann along with four other Republican lawmakers questioned Abedin's security clearance in a letter to the State Department's inspector general. They suggested members of her family had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the writers said may be seeking access to high levels of the US government.