Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled

A controversial White House nominee has been placed in a senior role at the Pentagon after his confirmation hearing was canceled last week, according to a Pentagon spokesperson. 

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata withdrew his name from consideration to be the undersecretary of defense for policy, the spokesperson said Sunday. 

“He has been designated as the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy reporting to the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson. He looks forward to continuing to help implement the President’s National Security agenda,” the spokesperson added. 

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Senator Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police When 'Buy American' and common sense collide MORE (D-R.I.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized the development, saying in a statement that if President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE's "goal is to hollow out, politicize, and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and Intelligence Community, then mission accomplished." 

"This is an offensive, destabilizing move and General Tata should not be appointed to a Senate-confirmed position," he added.

Reed also called the method of Tata's appointment an "insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the American people."

"Clearly, President Trump wants people who will swear allegiance to him over the Constitution," he said.

Tata’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee was canceled Thursday, less than an hour before it was set to begin. 

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection MORE (R-Okla.) said at the time that the hearing was canceled because “many” Democrats and Republicans “didn’t know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time.”

'We didn’t get the required documentation in time; some documents, which we normally get before a hearing, didn’t arrive until yesterday," Inhofe said in a statement released shortly before the hearing was scheduled to start. "As I told the president last night, we’re simply out of time with the August recess coming, so it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose to have a hearing at this point, and he agreed."

In a separate statement last week, Reed said both parties had “serious questions” about Tata. 

"It’s fair to say members on both sides of the aisle have raised serious questions about this nominee," Reed said. "We had a closed door session on Tuesday, and today’s public hearing has now been cancelled. Chairman Inhofe did the right thing here, and it’s clear this nomination isn’t going anywhere without a full, fair, open hearing."

A spokesperson for Inhofe was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

--Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated on Aug. 3 at 6:51 a.m.