Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support Tuesday for the nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, delivering a key vote for the Nebraska Republican’s confirmation after weeks of voicing doubt about his positions on security issues related to Israel and Iran.
Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat and most senior Jewish senator, made the decision after a 90-minute meeting Monday in the West Wing, a secretive huddle that Schumer and White House officials kept under wraps until the decision to announce his support Tuesday.
“Senator Hagel could not have been more forthcoming and sincere,” Schumer said Tuesday in a statement. “Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.”
Schumer informed Obama of his decision Monday after the meeting with Hagel, phoning the former senator Tuesday morning to formalize his support, according to a Senate aide familiar with the discussion.