On Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized President Barack Obama’s reportedly planned nomination of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense.
“[I] like Chuck Hagel,” Graham began. “He served with distinguish in Vietnam as an enlisted man — two Purple Hearts. But quite frankly, Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking, I believe, on most issues regarding foreign policy. … I’m going to vote for Sen. Kerry. I don’t agree with him a lot, but I think he’s very much in the mainstream of thought.”
“Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation’s history,” Graham continued. “Not only has he said you should directly negotiate with Iran, sanctions won’t work, that Israel must negotiate with Hamas, an organization, terrorist group that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel. He also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union trying to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
Graham denied Hagel’s likely nomination is the result of a bipartisan effort.
“He has long severed his ties with the Republican Party,” Graham added. “This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel. I don’t know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon — little, if any — so I think it’s an incredibly controversial choice. And it looks like the second term of Barack Obama is going to be an in-your-face term. I’m not going to talk to you at all about the about ceiling, and here’s my secretary of defense nominee that will get a lot of bipartisan concern.”