Sen. Jim Inhofe, Rep. Tom Cole respond to Hagel resignation
Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is being made a “scapegoat” by the Obama administration.
Inhofe strongly opposed Hagel’s nomination last year and worked hard against it. But in a statement released after Hagel announced his resignation, Inhofe seemed to be defending him.
Inhofe said, “I've known Secretary Hagel for many years and consider him a friend. He has served his country with dedication and I wish him well in his future endeavors.
“Over the last two years, Secretary Hagel did everything the President asked of him and now is being made a scapegoat for the Administration's failed policies and relentless pursuit to disarm America.
“We've seen this story before from the White House. Much like what happened to General Jim Jones, the dangerously insular West Wing pushes out those who question their disastrous policies, as Secretary Hagel had begun to do in recent months on sequestration and in a scathing memo to Susan Rice on the White House's failing strategy in Syria and Iraq.
“Not surprisingly, the President seems determined to double down on his misguided policies for his last two years in office instead of changing course to deal with the growing security challenges that have festered on his watch."
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill and is a key member of the House panel that oversees military funding, said, “During his time in military combat, as a U.S. Senator and most recently as Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel has served our nation with distinction and honor.
“As Secretary of Defense, serving at the Pentagon for nearly two years, he faced many challenges, including the implementation of deep cuts to our military in the midst of mounting crises overseas.
“While it is unclear what prompted Secretary Hagel's resignation today, I hope that the Administration carefully considers its strategy for confronting our enemies.
“Moreover, I urge the Administration to work with Congress to resolve the issue of the so called ‘sequester’ that is weakening our military and making the job of Secretary of Defense virtually impossible for even a person as dedicated and talented as Secretary Hagel to successfully perform.
“Without strong resolve and real leadership against terrorist groups, our ability to combat dangerous enemies like ISIL will only weaken."