The Senate’s interrogation of Chuck Hagel went from bad to worse on Thursday, when newly-elected Texas Sen. Ted Cruz laid into Obama’s defence Secretary nominee with some bogus visual aids.
In an unorthodox move, Cruz streamed a 2009 call-in interview Hagel gave to Al Jazeera in front of the hearing, in an attempt to show that Hagel had agreed with callers’ statements that the Israel had committed “war crimes” in Lebanon and the U.S. is “the world’s bully.”
Watch the clip below, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:
As BuzzFeed’s Rosie grey points out, the first clip, on “war crimes,” was actually taken way out of context. Cruz did not play Hagel’s full response to the caller, who referred to “war crimes” as part of a much longer diatribe that ended in a question about U.S. moral leadership.
Here’s the full interview:
The second clip, which has come up often in criticism of Hagel, is only slightly more legitimate. In that clip, a caller asks whether the U.S. needs to change the “perception” that it is “the world’s bully,” to which Hagel responds: “Well, her observation is a good one and it’s relevant. Yes to her question.”
Overall, Cruz’s questioning was a low point in what has so far been a rocky confirmation hearing for Hagel. The former Nebraska Senator has struggled to defend his previous positions on Iran, as well as past statements about Israel and the “Jewish lobby.”
Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin reports that additional Republican Senators have decided to vote against Hagel’s confirmation in light of his testimony today. But Hagel still has the support of Senate Democrats, and it is unlikely that Republicans will decide to filibuster his confirmation.
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