Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday suggested President Obama nominate former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“We need a Secretary of Defense who is squarely focused on defending the national security interests of the United States, first and foremost, and especially preventing a bad deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons program that could do irreparable harm to us and our allies,” Cruz, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
“One strong option would be former Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the president’s own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States,” according to Cruz. “I urge the President to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position.”
Lieberman no doubt would get the stamp of approval from incoming Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.). The Arizona lawmaker seriously considered naming Lieberman his running mate in 2008 instead of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Lieberman would also likely be welcomed back by Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.). Along with McCain, the trio was dubbed “The Three Amigos” while serving the upper chamber together.
However, Lieberman’s hawkish foreign policy views probably put him out of contention for the top Pentagon job.
Former Defense officials Ashton Carter, Michèle Flournoy and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) are seen as the front-runners for the post, even though a spokesman for the senator said he wouldn’t accept the position.
Cruz said Hagel’s resignation “reflects the ongoing damage caused by President Obama’s misguided foreign policy of leading from behind.”
He slammed Obama for announcing he would move forward on immigration without Congress, labeling it “illegal executive amnesty,” and calling on Senate GOP leadership to “halt confirmation of all of the President’s executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of vital national security positions.”
Cruz said the Senate should “promptly confirm a strong and qualified nominee” to be the next Defense chief.