President Obama announced today that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is leaving his post, and it wasn’t entirely his choice.
The New York Times reported Monday that Hagel is “stepping down under pressure” as the administration faces multiple challenges in the Middle East, including the threat posed by the Islamic State extremist group.
Obama said at a White House press conference Monday that Hagel approached him last month about resigning. The president praised him as a “great friend” and “exemplary” Pentagon chief.
“This decision does not come easily to him,” the president said.
The only Republican in Obama’s cabinet and a critic of the Iraq War, Hagel was brought on as Defense Secretary to oversee the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and budget cuts at the Pentagon. But now, the White House is facing criticism over its national security strategy as the country has been drawn back into overseas conflicts.
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