Following a grueling hearing on Capitol Hill that lasted nearly seven hours, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said former Senator Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) was “not an appropriate choice” to become secretary of defense, and therefore he would not support Hagel’s nomination.
Cruz did not equivocate. “I have serious concerns that if Chuck Hagel is confirmed as secretary of defense, it will encourage those who would seek to do harm to the United States, and it would make military conflict more likely not less likely,” he told National Review Online in an interview following the hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He noted the “qualitative difference” between Hagel and Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.), who was recently confirmed as secretary of state in near-unanimous fashion. Most concerning, he said, was Hagel’s flip-flopping, a trait more commonly attributed to Kerry, on a number of issues, such as the viability of a “containment” strategy towards Iran.
“I thought it was striking, No 1., the degree to which he ran away from decades of strongly stated positions across the gamut of foreign policy,” he said. “Virtually every prior statement he has made on these issues, we were told today, is no longer operable.”
“That’s a decision every senator will have to make,” he said when asked if he would try to prevent Hagel from being confirmed. “I am hopeful that all of the senators will set aside partisan politics and look to Senator Hagel’s record.”