Former Vice President Dick Cheney joined the chorus of Republican voices attacking President Obama’s nominees to his national security team Saturday night, accusing the president of picking inadequate candidates to join his cabinet and jeopardizing America’s safety through planned defense cuts.
Speaking before the Wyoming Republican Party, Cheney panned Obama’s recent picks, including new Secretary of State John Kerry, Pentagon nominee Chuck Hagel and CIA nominee John Brennan, according to a report from Associated Press.
“Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people,” Cheney said.
On Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska, Cheney said Obama “wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.” Those plans, Cheney said, are to allow massive cuts to the defense budget which will hurt the United States’ military preparedness and place “limitations on future presidents.”
Cheney also blamed the administration’s policy toward the Middle East for increased turmoil in the region, citing Obama’s failure to reign in Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
On the subject of politics, Cheney urged his fellow Republicans to “pull together” after their electoral losses in November and mount a comeback by holding on to their conservative values.
“I believe we’re all going to pull together, work hard, dig in and do what needs to be done,” he said.
On Sunday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) declined to respond to Cheney’s remarks during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” though he did say he believed Hagel would be confirmed despite Republican opposition.
“I’m not going to comment on Vice President Cheney’s views of public service at this point,” Durbin said.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.