Cantor: Hagel is ‘wrong man for the job’

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorVirginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' White House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn't vote for them MORE (R-Va.) said Monday that former Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelOvernight Defense: Navy medic killed after wounding 2 sailors in Maryland shooting | Dems push Biden for limits on military gear transferred to police | First day of talks on Iran deal 'constructive' 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack Trump Afghan pullout deal unachievable, says ex-Pentagon leader MORE (R-Neb.) is the “wrong man for the job” of the next Pentagon chief.

Cantor issued a statement stating his opposition to Hagel shortly after the former senator was nominated by President Obama to become Defense secretary.


“I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense,” Cantor said in the statement.

“Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel’s views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally,” he said.

As a House member, of course, Cantor does not get a vote on Hagel’s confirmation. But his opposition highlights the conservative mobilization against Hagel, who angered many Republicans with his opposition to the Iraq war at the end of the George W. Bush administration.

The Republican National Committee on Monday issued a release that went after Hagel and outlined the opposition to him thus far.

Cantor and other GOP lawmakers who have opposed Hagel — including Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas) — have cited Hagel’s comments about the “Jewish lobby” intimidating people in Washington and said that he’s soft on Iran.

Many Senate Republicans have expressed concerns about Hagel’s comments and positions, but have stopped short of saying they would vote against his confirmation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) said on ABC’s “This Week” he would wait and see how the hearings go before deciding whether to support Hagel.