As major developments unfold in Syria, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke her recent silence on Twitter to...congratulate Diana Nyad.
"Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks -- but you actually did it! Congrats!" Clinton posted on Twitter Monday evening, referring to Nyad's record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage.
But Republicans were quick to pounce on the possible 2016 presidential candidate. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer argued Clinton should be speaking out about the crisis in Syria, where Obama administration officials say chemical weapons were used last month.
"On Syria, what does Hillary say? Walker, Christie, Cuomo, O'Malley too. Would-be leaders should take a stand," he wrote Tuesday on Twitter, but then added a specific slam against Clinton. "At least Governors can say they're focused on other issues/don't have all the facts. Hillary has no right to remain silent."
The group that's behind "Stop Hillary 2016"--a campaign to tarnish Clinton's reputation as she considers a presidential bid--pushed out an email Monday night with a BuzzFeed article highlighting the fact that Clinton's first tweet in two weeks was about Nyad's swimming feat, not Syria.
But Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, who was also a senior political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, said he's not surprised by the criticism.
"Of course, given that it's Hillary, everything she says -- or does not say -- is going to be criticized. She'd be getting grief if she were weighing in, for Pete's sake," he said. "We can only have one Secretary of State at a time, and I don't think folks should attack her for letting Secretary Kerry lead the department he now runs."
In addition to pushing for diplomatic efforts to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, Clinton backed a proposal last year to provide weapons to Syrian rebels when she served as secretary of state.
Clinton also issued warnings in January shortly before leaving office about Iran's involvement in Syria, saying the country was supplying al-Assad's regime with military supplies. She urged Iran, as well as Russia, to reconsider their aid to war-torn country.
Clinton further defended her role as the nation's top diplomat in the situation.
"I've done what was possible to do," she told reporters.
She could have a chance to publicly comment on Syria this month. Clinton has a speech scheduled next week in Philadelphia, where she has said she'll talk about national security. The annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City also takes place later this month--an event that focuses on global issues.
Should she decide to run for president in 2016, Clinton is well aware that anything she says now can be used for or against her in the next few years.
Clinton was one of 29 Democrats who voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which gave President George W. Bush's administration the go-ahead to eventually send U.S. troops to Iraq.
That vote came back to hurt Clinton years later, as she was battling then-Sen. Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Even now, America Rising, the political action committee behind the Stop Hillary 2016 effort, made a blog post Tuesday highlighting her Iraq War vote.
"In justifying her vote for the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton invoked Saddam's pursuit of chemical and biological weapons," read an email advertising the blog post. "Given intelligence indicating Assad's use of them, would Hillary use the same justification to support action in Syria? To date, she has avoided the topic altogether."