Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday night blasted President Obama’s national security nominees as “second-rate people.”
“The performance now of Barack ObamaBarack ObamaWATCH LIVE: Obama speaks at African American Museum opening Obama talks racial tension at African-American museum opening Trump in 2011: Clintons ‘have done so much’ for blacks MORE as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal,” said Cheney in an address to members of the Wyoming Republican Party, according to a report from CBS.
Obama tapped former Sen. John KerryJohn KerryTime for Action on Bahrain When wise men attack: Why Gates is wrong about Clinton, Libya Internal memo: Refugee program vulnerable to fraud MORE (D-Mass.), who was confirmed by the Senate last month in a 94-3 vote, to replace Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump: We are proud of African-American history museum Kim Kardashian confirms: 'I stand with Hillary' No, Doctor: Hillary's eyes are just Hillary's eyes MORE as secretary of State.
But other choices for the national security team face a tougher fight.
Former Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelCreating a future for vets in DC Republicans back Clinton, but will she put them in Pentagon? There's still time for another third-party option MORE (R-Neb.), Obama’s Defense nominee, has faced heated opposition from GOP lawmakers over his views on Israel and Iran. Republican lawmakers have also demanded more financial information from groups linked to Hagel, delaying a committee vote.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinThe Fed and a return to banking simplicity What Our presidential candidates can learn from Elmo Zumwalt Will there be a 50-50 Senate next year? MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday, though, blasted those demands for more information and vowed a panel vote “as soon as possible.” Only two GOP senators have said they will support Hagel’s nomination and many have not ruled out a filibuster.
Cheney said that Hagel had been tapped because the president wanted “a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.”
Cheney said Obama would enact severe defense cuts that could weaken the military’s capabilities, “establishing what limitations will be on future presidents.”
Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, nominated to the CIA directorship, faced tough grilling from senators last week on the administration’s use of armed drone strikes against American citizens abroad.
Cheney has been a frequent critic of the administration’s national security polices, calling Obama one of our “weakest” presidents.