The White House is reportedly considering other candidates for secretary of defense, after seeing popular opposition to the presumptive top pick Chuck Hagel.
A senior administration official told Washington’s National Journal magazine that the Obama administration is looking at other candidates, including former undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy.
Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, has come under fire for his dovish views, including what critics see as insufficient support for Israel, especially vis-a-vis the Iranian threat.
On Sunday, Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who’s retiring and won’t have a vote in the confirmation process, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that it would be “a very tough confirmation process,” and “there are reasonable questions to ask and that Chuck Hagel will have to answer.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said it would be “a challenging nomination.”
“I don’t think he’s going to get many Republican votes,” Graham said.
Flournoy, a booster for US President Barack Obama, served as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 until February 2012, when she stepped down to spend time with her family. She has been bruited by Hagel critics as a possible replacement choice whose views fall more in line with the staunchly pro-Israel Congress.
Last week, the Washington Post endorsed Flournoy’s candidacy, writing in an editorial that she would be welcomed as the nation’s first female defense head.
“[Flournoy is] a seasoned policymaker who understands how to manage the Pentagon bureaucracy and where responsible cuts can be made. She would bring welcome diversity as the nation’s first female defense secretary,” the paper wrote.