Vice President Joe Biden is less-than-pleased with the way President Obama handled the very-public firing of defense secretary Chuck Hagel.
As a long-time colleague and friend of Hagel from their days in the Senate, Biden appeared frustrated and upset during Hagel’s unusual Monday morning termination at the White House. An administration official told Politico the vice president was “ticked off” by the humiliating way Obama gave his defense secretary the boot.
The former Nebraska senator lasted less than two years at the Defense Department, with President Obama recently concluding that Hagel ”just wasn’t the man for the job” after his dispassionate performance in meetings to determine U.S. strategy against the Islamic State.
Hagel recently broke with the White House on that strategy, penning an October memo described as “sharply critical” of the administration’s plans in Syria. The defense secretary was concerned that the administration’s failure to prevent attacks against moderate rebels by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad could imperil U.S. plans in the entire region.
Administration officials also downplayed the notion that Hagel’s firing was part of a broader White House shake-up following the disastrous Democratic showing in this year’s midterms. “There is no shake-up,” a senior administration official told Politico. “For good or ill, this is it.”