Yet, Graham finds John Kerry an acceptable choice for Secretary of State. How bad must he think Hagel is?
Via The Hill:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed dismay at reports President Obama would tap former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for Secretary of Defense, calling it an “in your face” selection.
“I like Chuck Hagel. He served with distinction in Vietnam as an enlisted man — two Purple Hearts. But quite frankly Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking on most issues regarding foreign policy,” said Graham in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“He has long severed his ties with the Republican party. This is an in your face nomination of the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” he added. “I don’t know what his management experience is in regards to the Pentagon or global if anyway, so I think it’s an extremely controversial choice.”
Reports Sunday said that Obama had decided to name Hagel to replace current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as early as Monday.
The selection of Hagel is likely to set off a fierce confirmation battle with many conservative lawmakers already signaling opposition to their former colleague.
Pro-Israel groups have questioned Hagel’s support for the U.S. ally, in particular after comments he made in office about the “Jewish lobby” intimidating fellow lawmakers. Hagel has also faced criticism for his calls for the U.S. to engage diplomatically with Hamas and Iran and for his sharp criticism of President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge.