Texas senator Ted Cruz indicated this morning that he’s likely to vote against confirming Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator whom President Obama is expected to nominate as secretary of defense this week. “[I]t is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support his confirmation,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s interesting, the president seems bound and determined to proceed down this path, despite the fact that Hagel’s record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel, he has not been a friend to Israel, and in my view, the United States should stand unshakably with the nation of Israel. And he has consistently advocated weakness with respect to our enemies,” Cruz said.
Though Cruz did not say unequivocally that he will vote against Hagel, it’s fair to assume he will. That makes him the fifth Republican senator to signal his opposition to Hagel; senators John Cornyn, Tom Coburn, Dan Coats and Roger Wicker have already indicated they will vote against the nomination.
The more significant roadblocks on Hagel’s path to the Pentagon, though, are likely to be pro-Israel Democrats and Iran hawks. The National Journal notes that, in the upcoming confirmation battle, Democratic senators Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, Dianne Feinstein, Ben Cardin, Frank Lautenberg and Carl Levin, who have thus far been circumspect in their approach to the rumored nomination, will be the ones to watch.