Sen. Ted Cruz suggested former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned independent, to replace Hagel
Lieberman hasn't been named by White House officials on the shortlist of potential nominees
Cruz called for the nominee to be confirmed "promptly"
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is floating an unexpected option to take over for outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat turned Independent from Connecticut.
In a statement issued hours after President Obama appeared at the White House alongside Hagel to announce the end of his tenure, Cruz slammed the president over the resignation and suggested Lieberman as a potential replacement.
“Today’s resignation reflects the ongoing damage caused by President Obama’s misguided foreign policy of leading from behind,” Cruz said.
“One strong option would be former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a member of the President’s own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States. I urge the President to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position.”
As a close friend of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the incoming Armed Services Committee Chairman, Lieberman would likely win easy approval from the committee if considered.
But his name hasn’t been included on any shortlists in part because his hawkish foreign policy views have often put him at odds with Democrats. He also was a rare Democrat to endorse McCain over Obama for president in 2008, and was believed to be one of McCain’s preferred VP options.
White House officials have named former top Pentagon officials Michèle Flournoy and Ash Carter, as well as Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed as possible nominees, though Reed’s spokesman has indicated he’s not interested in the post.
Cruz has urged his party to block most of Obama’s executive and judicial nominees when they take control of the Senate next year as a response to the president’s executive action on deportations. But in his statement, he set that conflict aside and called for the Senate to “promptly confirm a strong and qualified nominee” to replace Hagel because secretary of Defense is, “by any measure…a vital national security position.”