The U.S. Senate voted 58-41 Tuesday to confirm former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as America’s new defense secretary, but not without a little controversy.
Four Republican senators backed Hagels’ confirmation: Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), and Rand Paul (Ky.), as noted yesterday on TheBlaze.
Understandably, Sen. Paul’s vote took some by surprise. After all, didn’t the Kentucky senator vote against cloture before voting for Hagel’s confirmation (answer: Yes).
In an attempt to figure out this apparent contradiction, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer on Wednesday asked the senator about his “aye” vote.
“You helped lead the charge publicly against Chuck Hagel. Yet he you voted to confirm him as Defense Secretary. He was sworn two hours ago at the Pentagon. Why the vote to favor him?” Hemmer asked.
“I filibustered him twice because I wanted more information, and I think when Republicans stick together we could get information. I was disappointed several on my side after they filibustered him immediately announced they wouldn’t continue the filibuster so we never got the information,” said Sen. Paul.
“I’m the same way on Brennan. I want more information on drone strikes in America. On final passage though I take the position that the president does have some leeway and some prerogative in who he appoints to political appointees.
“So I would like to get as much information as we can. I will stick with the party, if the party will stick together to try to get more information. In the end I voted for John Kerry also although I agree with almost nothing that John Kerry represents,” he added.
So there you have it. Sen. Paul voted against cloture because, according to him, he was angling to get more information on President Obama’s nominee and he voted to confirm Hagel because the president has some “leeway” with his appointees.
Watch the Fox interview here [the senator's Hagel explanation appears at the 02:50 mark]:
Oh, by the way, as noted by BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray, Sen. Paul told reporters Tuesday he never got the information he was looking for on Hagel.
Here’s a breakdown of how the senate voted yesterday:
Hagel was sworn in as secretary of defense in a private ceremony Wednesday morning at about 8:30 a.m ET.
- U.S. Senate Confirms Hagel as Defense Secretary, Four GOP ‘Ayes’ Seal Deal
- Bipartisan Consensus: Hagel Blew His Confirmation Hearing
- Krauthammer Blasts Hagel: ‘Incredibly Remarkable Lack of Competence’
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(H/T: WFB). Featured image Getty Images.