Congressman Jeff Fortenberry regrets that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned.
Fortenberry says Hagel, a former United States Senator from Nebraska, was forthright when dealing with Congress.
“He’ll tell you what he thinks,” Fortenberry tells Kevin Thomas, host of Driver Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The White House, the way it’s currently structured, they run things from inside there. They don’t appear to rely heavily on their secretaries, their cabinet members, for input and advice. So, if there was significant tension building, I think that’s the reason.”
Fortenberry says he doesn’t understand why Hagel apparently was forced to resign or the timing behind the resignation.
Fortenberry says that while the Obama Administration has had a strained relationship with Congress, Hagel stood out as a bright spot.
Fortenberry recalls when he requested Hagel meet with a bipartisan group from Congress and the Secretary agreed immediately.
“Again, it was a bipartisan group, robust conversation for an hour over breakfast, very much welcomed,” according to Fortenberry. “The White House has a very significant communications problem, almost non-existent with Congress. And, so, to me that was a marked sign of him trying to do things a bit differently.”
Fortenberry says it does appear Hagel resigned under pressure from people within the White House.
“I regret the decision, because I think he was laying down some clear markers that we have got to rethink 21st Century military structure and strategy to meet the ongoing needs of our national security and he was saying some hard things that need to be said.”