South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham forcefully interrogated Chuck Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. secretary of defense Thursday.
Graham focused on a comment Hagel made in an interview for a book that there is a “Jewish lobby” that “intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill.
Noting that Hagel had already said he should have used the term “pro-Israel lobby” instead of “Jewish lobby,” Graham asked Hagel to “name one person, in your opinion, who’s intimidated by the Israel lobby in the United States Senate.”
“I don’t know,” Hagel ultimately conceded.
Graham continued his interrogation, asking Hagel to, “Name one dumb thing we’ve been goaded into doing because of the pressure from the Israeli or Jewish lobby?”
“I have already stated that I regret the terminology,” Hagel protested.
“But you said back then, it makes us do dumb things,” Graham pressed. “You can’t name one senator intimidated, now give me one example of the dumb things that we’re pressured to do up here.”
“Well, I can’t give you an example,” Hagel admitted.
Earlier in the hearing, Hagel said he should have used the term “pro-Israel lobby” instead of “Jewish lobby.” He also said he should have said “influence” instead of “intimidates.”