Kerry: ‘All of You Who Know Hillary, Know That She Would Rather Be Here Today’

By Melanie Arter | December 20, 2012 | 10:48 AM EST

Senator John Kerry addresses his colleagues on climate change during a Senate Commerce Committee meeting on Tuesday, July, 31, 2012. (Image: C-Span)

( Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held a hearing Thursday on the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted to attend the hearing but was sidelined with a virus and concussion.

“Let me emphasize this please to everybody: All of you who know Hillary, know that she would rather be here today. I know how deeply she feels the importance of the discussion we’re having here today, and I assure you it is not her choice that she is not here today, and she looks forward to appearing before the committee in January. I want to make that clear,” Kerry said in his opening statement.

Clinton reportedly fainted over the weekend after becoming dehydrated from a bout with the stomach virus and sustained a concussion.

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Four Americans were killed in the attack in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.

Congress is investigating whether the State Department denied a request for more security at the consulate prior to the attack and what was done moments before the attack began. The House Foreign Affairs Committee takes up the matter Thursday afternoon.

Clinton is stepping down as Secretary of State next year, and Kerry is expected to be nominated to replace her.