Sen. John McCain says: “I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated.” McCain, expected to become chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, was reacting to news that President Obama is forcing Secretary of Defense Hagel to resign.
In an radio interview with KFYI radio in Phoenix, McCain said that he just spoke with Hagel on the phone and had met with him recently. McCain was a vocal opponent of Hagel’s nomination in 2013, but pointed out that the former Republican senator was unfairly characterized as not being able to handle the job.
“Already White House people are leaking ‘well he wasn’t up to the job,’ well 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,” McCain said.
McCain praised Hagel for characterizing ISIS as the greatest threat in the Middle East, while Obama was calling them members of a JV team. He also criticized Obama for failing in areas like the Middle East, Ukraine, and responding to a newly aggressive China.
“We’ve had our disagreements but Chuck Hagel is an honorable man,” McCain added.