With Hagel Nominated As Secretary Of Defense, Ros-Lehtinen Says His Views Concerning Iran, Cuba & Israel Run Contrary To U.S. National Interests

Jan 8, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs


Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, now serving as Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa, issued the following statement on President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Ros-Lehtinen’s statement:

“I am deeply disappointed in President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as our nation’s next Secretary of Defense. Senator Hagel’s positions regarding foreign policy issues, particularly concerning Iran, Cuba, and Israel, runs contrary to U.S. national interests.

During his time in Congress, Senator Hagel supported legislation that would have provided a lifeline to the decrepit Castro regime that for the last half a century has exploited the Cuban people and posed a severe security threat to the U.S.  He opposed sanctions against Iran, which has brazenly pursued the development of a nuclear weapon in open defiance of the international community as well as called for the destruction of one of our vital allies, Israel. His outspoken criticism of our ally, the democratic State of Israel, will not further the fragile peace process in the region and may embolden Israel’s enemies into believing that the U.S. will not stand with Israel. It must be made clear that Israel will always be our greatest ally in the struggle for peace in the Middle East and vital partner in the defense of democracy and liberty. 

We must have a Secretary of Defense who is supportive of our U.S. national security goals and can stand up to Ahmadinejad and other dictators who seek to undermine our national security interests. In a time of regional turmoil and rogue regimes, our Secretary of Defense must remain strong on sanctions against Iran, never abandon our allies, like Israel, and stand-up to dictators like the Castro brothers who seek to oppress the voices of democracy and freedom. I ask my colleagues in the Senate to be thorough in their vetting process to ensure that the best possible candidate is chosen to carry out the duties required of a Secretary of Defense.”