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Armed Services panel cancels hearing for controversial Pentagon nominee

Retired general and Fox News contributor under fire for past inflammatory remarks

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., canceled the hearing at the last minute, saying senators did not know enough about the controversial nominee.
Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., canceled the hearing at the last minute, saying senators did not know enough about the controversial nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday canceled at the last minute the nomination hearing for Anthony J. Tata, President Donald Trump’s controversial pick to be the Pentagon’s policy chief.

Tata, a retired Army brigadier general and regular contributor to Fox News, once called former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader.” It is unclear if the hearing will be rescheduled.

In a tweet, Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., said many lawmakers did not yet know enough about Tata to consider him for such a position at this time.

Inhofe also said that a lack of documentation was to blame, and that he felt there was not enough time to have a hearing so close to the August recess. According to Inhofe, Trump agreed with him.

But Tata has a fairly high profile, and his nomination has drawn pushback from Democrats who have cited his past comment on Obama.

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the committee’s top Democrat, said Inhofe “did the right thing here, and it’s clear this nomination isn’t going anywhere without a full, fair, open hearing.”

“We’re a bipartisan committee,” Reed said Thursday. “It’s fair to say members on both sides of the aisle have raised serious questions about this nominee.”

The policy post is among the most senior in the department and plays a central role in developing military plans and priorities.

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