U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today issued the following statement after voting against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of the Defense:
"I've always felt that the President should have the opportunity to serve with the nominees he chooses, but that deference is not limitless. I served with Chuck Hagel in the Senate for many years and appreciate his dedication and service to our country. But the Secretary of Defense is an incredibly important job that carries tremendous responsibilities, and regrettably I have too many reservations about the nominee's preparedness and ability to oversee the greatest military in the world. I hoped my concerns would have been addressed at his confirmation hearing, but unfortunately the hearing raised more questions than answers. Additionally, the nominee's past positions with regards to Hezbollah, Israel, and Iran are not representative of where I believe our country's top defense official should be. Our brave servicemembers are engaged in conflicts overseas, the Defense Department is facing budget cuts, and enemies near and far continue to seek to harm Americans and American interests, and I do not feel that the nominee is the right person to confront these challenges as next Secretary of Defense."