Flanked by both President Obama and Vice President Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned from his position today, November 24, after White House insiders allege that he wasn’t bout that life to handle the looming threats that face the nation.
During a statement at the White House, President Barack Obama called Hagel “an exemplary Defense Secretary” and “a great friend of mine” who helped steer the military amid a time of great transition at the Pentagon.
“When it’s mattered most behind closed doors, in the Oval Office, you’ve always given it to me straight. For that, I will always be grateful,” Obama said, noting Hagel’s willingness to take the job despite hailing from the Republican Party.
Hagel called serving in the post “the greatest privilege of my life.”
In a separate written statement sent to Pentagon staff, Hagel said: “You should know I did not make this decision lightly. But after much discussion, the President and I agreed that now was the right time for new leadership here at the Pentagon.”
But behind the scenes, the departure appeared to be less rosy. Senior defense officials told NBC News Monday that Hagel was forced to resign. Those officials said the White House lost confidence in the former Nebraska senator to carry out his role at the Pentagon.
According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”
Another senior administration official said that Hagel has been discussing a departure from the White House “for several weeks.
The full press conference can be found in the video below, as President Obama had nothing but great things to say about Chuck Hagel’s tenure. Continue on through galley to see some photo highlights of his term.