WASHINGTON – Chuck Hagel secured the backing of two of the staunchest pro-Israel Senate Democrats in a clear boost to the Republican’s prospects of becoming President Barack Obama’s next defense secretary.
Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California said Tuesday that they had spoken extensively with Hagel and he had addressed their earlier reservations about whether he was “anti-Israel,” too soft on Iran and opposed to gay rights.
“Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation,” Schumer said the day after meeting with Hagel at the White House. “I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.”
Boxer expressed her support and urged fellow senators to do the same after receiving a letter from Hagel in which he insisted that he supports Obama’s foreign policy positions.