In a surprise announcement, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation on Monday, as President Obama said Hagel had concluded that now was an “appropriate” time for him to leave the Cabinet.
“When I nominated you for this position, you said you would always give me your honest advice,” the President said, adding, “you have.”
While Hagel thanked the President for allowing him to lead the Pentagon, the event in the White House East Room gave off the vibe that the former GOP Senator was being shown the door by Mr. Obama.
And reporters here in D.C. certainly felt that, too.
Something painful in the DC ritual in which someone is pushed out and then has to stand with the pusher and pretend there was no pushing.
The unexpected departure of Hagel means that the Republican Senate early next year will have major confirmation hearings for the jobs of Attorney General and Defense Secretary.
Look for the Attorney General hearings to focus on unilateral changes on immigration as well as surveillance policies of the Obama Administration.
The hearings for Defense Secretary will certainly give Republicans a chance to register their displeasure at the course of the fight against the Islamic State – as well as other foreign policy disagreements.