Today, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R–TX) and 14 other U.S. Senators sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to withdraw former Senator Chuck Hagel’s (R–NE) nomination for Secretary of Defense. The President should listen.
The powerful letter is a sign of the mounting opposition to Hagel’s confirmation, which is expected to come to a floor vote after the Senate returns from recess on February 25. From Hagel’s stance on “Nuclear Zero,” to his anti-Israeli comments and his belief in engaging with Iran, to his disconcertingly poor performance in his February 7 confirmation hearing, the Senators have plenty of reason to oppose handing Hagel the reins at the Department of Defense.
“While we respect Senator Hagel’s honorable military service, in the interest of national security, we respectfully request that you withdraw his nomination. It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position,” the Senators wrote.
“Senator Hagel’s performance at his confirmation hearing was deeply concerning, leading to serious doubts about his basic competence to meet the substantial demands of the office. While Senator Hagel’s erratic record and myriad conversions on key national security issues are troubling enough, his statements regarding Iran were disconcerting.”
The letter is signed by Senators John Cornyn, James Inhofe (R–OK), Lindsey Graham (R–SC), Roger Wicker (R–MS), David Vitter (R–LA), Ted Cruz (R–TX), Mike Lee (R–UT), Pat Toomey (R–PA), Marco Rubio (R–FL), Dan Coats (R–IN), Ron Johnson (R–WI), James Risch (R–ID), John Barrasso (R–WY), Tom Coburn (R–OK), and Tim Scott (R–SC). The full text is provided below.