The Senate will approve the nomination of former Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelWho will temper Trump after he takes office? Hagel: I’m ‘encouraged’ by Trump’s Russia outreach Want to 'drain the swamp'? Implement regular order MORE (R-Neb.) this coming week, Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation MORE (R-Okla.) predicted Sunday, but with so many “no” votes that he'll be an ineffective secretary of Defense.
“He doesn't have the confidence of the vast majority of the Senate, which weakens him in that position,” said Coburn, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “The fact is that in modern times we haven't had one Defense secretary who's had more than three votes against him.
Republicans filibustered Hagel’s nomination earlier this month, the first ever for a Defense nominee, calling for more time to weigh his selection.
Sens. John McCainJohn McCainTrump names McMaster new national security adviser How does placing sanctions on Russia help America? THE MEMO: Trump's wild first month MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Senators eye new sanctions against Iran Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.), two of Hagel's toughest critics, though, said last week they would stop blocking his nomination after he disavowed comments he'd made about the Israeli lobby dominating U.S. foreign policy. That sets up a vote for as soon as this coming week.
But while Hagel, who has the support of Democratic senators and three Republicans is likely to win an up-or-down vote, many GOP lawmakers have continued to express serious concerns about his nomination. Coburn was one of 15 Republican senators who signed a letter this past week urging Obama to withdraw Hagel's nomination.
"While we respect Senator Hagel's honorable military service, in the interest of national security, we respectfully request that you withdraw his nomination. It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position," reads the letter, which was spearheaded by Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties Corker: Senate GOP discussing best path for Russia probe MORE (R-Texas).
“Senator Hagel’s performance at his confirmation hearing was deeply concerning, leading to serious doubts about his basic competence to meet the substantial demands of the office. While Senator Hagel's erratic record and myriad conversions on key national security issues are troubling enough, his statements regarding Iran were disconcerting.”
Asked about Hagel's poor showing at his confirmation hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee member Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillJuan Williams: Senate GOP begins to push Trump away Dem senator: I may face 2018 primary from Tea Party-esque progressives Dems ask for hearings on Russian attempts to attack election infrastructure MORE (D-Mo.) said that shouldn't be a reason to vote against the president's choice, and defended the nominee.
During the hearing Hagel said he misspoke when he said he supported containing Iran's nuclear program, a sharp departure from Obama's stated position that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.
“Should he be disqualified because he wasn't as articulate in the committee as he should have been?” McCaskill said, also on Fox. “I don't think he should be.”