Mississippi senator Roger Wicker, a Republican, released this statement, opposing Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense:

“The next Defense Secretary will face a number of challenges on day one, so we need the right person for the job. ... I am strongly opposed to the President’s nomination of Sen. Hagel. It would be divisive and distracting for Congress, the Administration, and the American people.

“Sen. Hagel’s record of opposing Iran sanctions is troubling. His views and positions on the Middle East and Israel are contrary to the Administration’s own stated policies, and there are concerns from members of both parties about this nomination.

“The President is choosing a fight rather than nominating a consensus pick. With sequestration’s defense cuts averted for only two months, this will take attention away from very pressing problems. Sec. Panetta was approved unanimously by the Senate. The President would be wise to nominate someone else for this critical position.”

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