Eric Cantor slams Chuck Hagel, hits 'incendiary views of Israel'

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

It's a good thing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor isn't in the Senate, passing judgement on President Obama's pick because the Virginia Republican has just come out strong in opposition to the former Nebraska senator.

"Chuck Hagel is the wrong man for the job," said Cantor in a statement that included a laundry list of complaints. The bottom line: Cantor believes Hagel promotes a "retreat from the preeminent role America has played."

Just in from Cantor's office:

Leader Cantor: Hagel Is The Wrong Man For The Job

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) released the following statement regarding President Obama's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense:

"I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel's views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally.

"Senator Hagel's incendiary views of Israel are only the tip of the iceberg. On Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and defense spending, Hagel's reported views call into question his judgment about the most important matters facing our national security. Taken together, Hagel's views represent a call for a broad retreat from the preeminent role America has played, and must continue to play, in the world during a period of profound tumult and instability.

"Hagel opted for political expediency in opposing the surge in Iraq, and supported a retreat that would have ceded victory to al Qaeda and Iran. The nomination of a man known primarily for opposing sanctions and military action against Iran strongly suggests that all options are not on the table. Hagel's nomination telegraphs weakness in the Middle East and defeatism in Afghanistan, where our Afghan partners will surely be concerned, and our Taliban and Iranian adversaries will surely be emboldened.

"There has been widespread and bipartisan opposition to this potential nomination, and the President's willingness to move forward despite these concerns only reinforces the signal that he agrees with Hagel's extreme positions. Senator Chuck Hagel is the wrong man for the job at such a pivotal time."