Obama Continues Long Awkward Goodbye to ‘Great Friend’ Chuck Hagel

President Barack Obama reaches over to touch Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel following an announcement of Hagel's resignation.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The long drawn out farewell to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel continued yesterday, as President Obama attended a farewell tribute to the outgoing Secretary at Fort Myer, Virginia.

“I was determined to be here with you this afternoon to honor and celebrate a great friend,” Obama said during the ceremony, pointing out that he returned to the White House at 3:00 a.m. that morning from his trip to India and Saudi Arabia.

During the speech, Obama told a story about Chuck Hagel wearing a pair of “Hush Puppy bedroom slipper shoes” in Iraq, ribbing the Defense Secretary for his toes sticking out of the slippers.

“He then ended up buying me a pair — which I have never worn, I’m proud to say,” he added.

Hagel’s lengthy departure has made it awkward for both the White House and the Defense department. His resignation was announced in November before Obama announced his replacement, Ashton Carter, in December.

Although Hagel was expected to attend the December announcement, he opted out, citing a desire to avoid being a distraction.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to hold confirmation hearings for Carter next week.


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