Senate Republicans May Fight Hagel Nomination

December 18, 2012

Some Senate Republicans said Tuesday they may oppose President Barack Obama's potential nomination of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to secretary of defense, according to the Weekly Standard.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) all expressed reservations about Hagel's 2008 statement that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot people here in [Washington, D.C.]."

Graham said Hagel will "have to answer for that comment" if he is nominated.

"And he’ll have to answer about why he thought it was a good idea to directly negotiate with Hamas and why he objected to the European Union declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization," continued Graham, a member of the Armed Services committee. "I think he’ll have to answer all those questions."

Asked if he’d oppose Hagel’s nomination from the start, Graham said he would not. "I want to listen to what he has to say," Graham said. "I like Chuck. He’s been a friend. He has a stellar military record. But these comments disturb a lot of people and he’ll have to answer those questions." [...]

Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, called references to a Jewish lobby "inaccurate."