U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today spoke on the Senate floor about his opposition to former Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense. Wicker reiterated Hagel's record of troubling statements and positions on matters of national importance. Hagel was confirmed by a vote of 58-41.
Wicker said in his floor remarks: "This could have been an easy matter. The selection of the defense secretary for President Obama's second term could have been a unifying moment. There were a host of qualified and able candidates -- both Republican and Democrat -- who could have sailed through the process."
In reaction to the vote, Wicker said, "Like many of my colleagues, I raised serious and substantive concerns during the confirmation process about Sen. Hagel's record of troubling statements and positions, which fall well outside the bipartisan mainstream. Our troops and allies need to rely on the words of the next secretary of defense, and they deserved much more comprehensive answers from this nominee, in my view. I hope that misgivings about Sen. Hagel will be allayed and replaced with increased confidence gained as a result of his service at the Pentagon. Although I believed there were more suitable candidates -- both Democrats and Republicans -- I offer Senator Hagel my congratulations on his confirmation as secretary of defense."