Republican Senators Monday expressed concern over the views of Chuck Hagel, nominated by US President Barack Obama [ Images ] as his next defence secretary, on several key issues, as the White House defended him saying that he is in "sync" with the president's policies.
Hagel, 66, the former Republican Senator from Nebraska, Monday was nominated by President Obama as his next defence secretary to replace Leon Panetta.
Soon thereafter several Republican Senators expressed concern over Hagel's post position on several issues.
"I have serious concerns about positions Senator Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years, which we will fully consider in the course of his confirmation process before the Senate Armed Services Committee," Senator John McCain [ Images ], said in a statement.
McCain is the Ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a statement said, Hagel is a "wrong man" for the job.
"Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel's views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the US shares with our greatest Middle East ally," Cantor said.
However, the White House categorically dismissed the concerns being raised by the Republican leadership.
"Senator Hagel has been a staunch supporter of Israel, the Israeli-American relationship, of the United States' support for Israel's security, throughout his career," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
"And he has also been, as demonstrated by his record, a supporter of the broad sanctions regime that this president has put into place against Iran, a sanctions regime that is unprecedented and which, as recently as, I think, last spring, Senator Hagel wrote about favourably and urged Washington as a whole to continue," the White House Press Secretary said.
"I think that Senator Hagel's record on those issues and so many others demonstrate that he is sync with the president's policies," Carney said.