The Corner

McCain: Hagel ‘Very, Very Frustrated’ He Was Never Brought into Obama’s ‘Tight Circle’

John McCain said that retiring defense secretary Chuck Hagel was “very, very frustrated” with the White House, with the Arizona Republican claiming that Hagel was shut out of many policy decisions by President Obama’s inner circle.

McCain spoke Monday with Phoenix-area radio station KFYI about Hagel’s resignation, which McCain seems to believe was made under duress. “I can tell you, he was in my office last week [and] he was very frustrated,” he said, citing the turmoil throughout the globe and a reluctance of the Obama administration to address it. 

“Already the White House people are leaking, ‘Well, he wasn’t up to the job,’” McCain continued. “Believe me, he was up to the job. It was the job he was given, where he really was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions — which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

“So I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated,” the senator finished.

McCain was one of Hagel’s toughest critics during his nomination fight in early 2013. “I don’t believe [Hagel] is qualified,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press at the time.

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