The anti-Hagel document also brings up Hagel’s 1994 opposition to appointing James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg because he was “openly, aggressively gay.” When the comment first surfaced earlier this month, gay rights organizations expressed concern about a potential Hagel nomination.
Hagel apologized for the comment last week and said it doesn’t reflect his current views.
In the Senate, the prospect of a Hagel nomination has not generated enthusiasm. Several Republican senators, including John McCain, Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte, have publicly expressed concern over Hagel’s record, and said he would have to answer tough questions if President Obama nominated him to head the Pentagon.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn straightforwardly declared last week that he would oppose his former colleague’s nomination, should it be made official.
“I can’t support a Hagel nomination if it comes,” he told The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin. “I’ve heard prominent Democrats concerned about his position on Israel. Many Republican have said they did not want to prejudge. But it would be a bad move and one of the reasons I’ve taken the position [to oppose]. ‘Mr. President don’t do that. It would be a bad nomination.’”
Democrats haven’t rushed to embrace Hagel either. On “Meet the Press” Sunday, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, refrained from offering support for Hagel’s nomination, saying only that the president could nominate whomever he wants for the post. He added that he would evaluate Hagel’s record if he was nominated.
In a Christmas Day letter to The Washington Post, former national security advisers James Jones, Frank Carlucci, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft offered an endorsement of Hagel.
He also received an endorsement from New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman on Christmas Day — which could be seen as the biggest blow to his candidacy yet.
Just ask Secretary of State Arne Duncan.