White House Search for Next Defense Secretary Continues
Chuck Hagel has been criticized by his former Senate colleagues and now it looks like he wouldn’t get the Defense Secretary position. All the signs indicate that the White House will not be naming him for the position.
Just like what happened to UN ambassador Susan Rice who faced criticism when she became the front runner for the secretary of state position, Chuck Hagel’s future looks dim. President Barack Obama is now rethinking his choice for the Defense Secretary post.
According to a senior administration official, it is safe to say that President Obama is now considering candidates other than Hagel for Defense secretary. One of the names floating around is Michele Flournoy, who was the undersecretary of Defense for policy in President Obama’s first term. Another potential candidate is Ashton Carter, who is the present deputy Defense secretary.
White House’s stance on Hagel changed after discouraging comments were said about the former Republican senator. Outgoing Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said that Hagel would go through as very tough confirmation process if nominated as Defense secretary. Former Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that Hagel wouldn’t get a lot of Republican votes.
Much of the criticisms were questions on whether Hagel has been a strong enough supporter of Israel and tough enough on Iran. There are also concerns about his stance on gay people and advocating unpopular positions during his 12 years in the Senate. Hagel was against his own party and President George W. Bush during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. He also criticized the management of the war that caused him his political career.
Hagel got close to President Obama when the latter was a freshman senator. Hagel later recommended that the Democratic presidential candidate select his longtime ally in the Senate Joe Biden as his running mate.