One of the grittiest opponents of President Barack Obama and his choice for secretary of defense, John McCain said Sunday that he believes there is a good chance that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed next week for the position in Obama’s Cabinet.
"I'm confident that Senator Hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as secretary of defense," Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Despite Senate Republicans’ vote last week to sustain a filibuster until more information is released by the White House and to block Hagel from being nominated as secretary of defense, McCain acknowledged that the former Nebraska senator will not be disappointed once the Senate is back into session after the weeklong recess.
“I don’t believe he is qualified,” McCain said. “But I don’t believe that we should hold up his nomination any further because I think it's a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered."
However, McCain is not the only Republican senator to have expressed his doubts on the prolonged bid by GOP to keep on hindering the nomination. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is also one of the most vociferous and persistent critics of Hagel, told Fox News that he will no longer block him, since the defense secretary hopeful has disavowed his earlier comments on Israel.
“I got a letter back from Senator Hagel in response to my question, ‘Did you say that, and do you believe that?’ And the letter said he did not recall saying that,” Graham said. “He disavows that statement.” Graham added, “I’ll just take him at his word unless something new comes along.”
Hagel’s nomination on Thursday fell short of one vote, allowing Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, to reschedule the vote of Feb. 26.
Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said in an interview with ABC’s” This Week” on Sunday that it’s a matter of grave concern for the country that the national security has been put on stake by the Senate Republicans after their tactic to delay the confirmation of both the new Pentagon chief and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“If you look at Chuck Hagel—decorated war veteran himself, war hero, Republican senator, somebody who over the course of the last many years, either as a Republican senator or as a chairman of the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, I’ve worked with very closely,” McDonough said. “This guy has one thing in mind—how to protect the country.”