Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Homeland Security | War on Terrorism | John Mica | Obama | Hagel

Rep. John Mica: Obama, Hagel Went in Different Directions

By    |   Monday, 24 November 2014 03:02 PM

Rep. John Mica tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama largely ignored Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's advice and tried to push him aside.

"He's done as good a job as you can and the president has avoided his counsel, found his counsel that has been publicly enunciated contradictory to the direction the administration is taking," Mica, a Florida Republican, told John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" on Monday.

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Hagel and Obama announced Monday that the defense secretary would be stepping down. The resignation came after more foreign policy decisions were relegated to the White House and Hagel faced increasing criticism by Obama's advisers for not being more proactive during meetings over national security.

Hagel also recently sent a memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice saying that the Obama administration needed to reconsider its approach to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which allegedly angered White House officials.

According to Mica, the problems between Hagel and the administration "go back to the president calling [the Islamic State] the J.V. team and downgrading it as a threat. He didn't want it to look too bad, and Chuck Hagel said it was one of the greatest threats that we faced, so that was one contradiction."

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Another difference happened "most recently on the Ebola situation. We have been sending troops over there, the administration packing the place with our troops, and members of Congress felt that [in order] to control that they should have the 21-day quarantine when they come back from these areas, observe them."

"I know the administration did not favor that," the Florida Republican said.

"There's been sort of a constant underlying rub with what [Hagel's] direction has been and . . . the direction the White House wants to go," he added.

Mica contends that with all that is going on in the Middle East, it's not a good time to be changing the defense chief.

"[Rep.] Darrell Issa and I were just, three, four weeks ago over in Iraq and met with the new leadership there, checked out what's going on," he explained. "We'll continue our oversight."

"The standup was going fairly well, and [Hagel] had led a lot of that, and I don't think this is a good time to change that leadership," he said.

"It's a very poor time to change that, but we do have good military. We've given them the mission," he added.

However, "we do need leadership to cover their back, though, and hopefully we'll get that in place soon.

"We've got incredible challenges. This ISIS situation is very tough," the Florida congressman said.

Mica said he hopes Hagel's replacement is "someone who's strong on the defense side."

As for Hagel's tenure in office, Mica contends he was a "good choice" for defense secretary and "he's done a good job."

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Rep. John Mica tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama largely ignored Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's advice and tried to push him aside.
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Monday, 24 November 2014 03:02 PM
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