Despite criticism from LGBT advocates and conservatives alike, President Obama will officially nominate Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense later today, Politico reports.
Hagel infamously criticized Ambassador James Hormel in 1998 for being “aggressively gay,” but Obama says he accepts Hagel’s apology as proof of “positive change”—adding that “anybody who serves in my administration understands my attitude and position on those issues.”
Hagel might be Obama’s guy, but it looks like it’ll be a tough confirmation process: Progressive Democrats take umbrage with Hagel’s homophobic comment and support of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and conservative Republicans don’t like his views on Israel and the Middle East.
“He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence, prior to his effort to become Secretary of Defense, of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel,” said former Rep. Barney Frank, who may land a temporary Senate appointment if John Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State.
“I like Chuck. But his positions, I didn’t really frankly know all of them, are really out of the mainstream, and well to the left of the president,” GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham said. “I think it’ll be a challenging nomination. But the hearings will matter.”
It’s odd Hagel has even gotten this far, considering how the nominations of people like Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood and Susan Rice were torpedoed for much lesser infractions.
Maybe it’s a guy thing?