Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced that he would not back Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel Tuesday, after the two met to discuss his positions on an array of subjects. Despite sharing party affiliation, Inhofe concluded that they are “too philosophically opposed” on the issues for him to support Hagel’s appointment. The Oklahoma Senator released a statement citing Hagel’s lack of concern about military budget cuts, his support for nuclear disarmament and the Global Zero Movement, and his record on Israel and Iran as his reasons for opposing the nominee.
Regarding Hagel and Israel, Inhofe said: “On Iran and Israel, Senator Hagel’s record concerns me as well. In 2000, he was one of just four senators who refused to sign a letter affirming U.S. solidarity with Israel. In 2001 he was one of just two Senators who voted against extending the sanctions against Iran. A year later, he urged the Bush administration to support Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization. Given the current tension in the Middle East that is largely being instigated by the Iranian regime, I am concerned with Senator Hagel’s views.”
Nevertheless, Inhofe praised Hagel as “a good person.” “It was a pleasure to serve with him in the United States Senate,” he said, “I am so very appreciative of the sacrifices he and his brother made to serve this country during the Vietnam War.”