Anthony J. Tata, who was nominated by President Trump as undersecretary of defense for politics, faced opposition from Democrats for inflammatory remarks of the past that included former President Barack Obama’s call as “terrorist leader. . ” Trump had pressed Senate Armed Services Committee chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) For a hearing, but was canceled amid mounting signs that some Republicans on the committee also had concerns.
One defense official familiar with the process, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Thursday that once Inhofe and the administration appeared late Wednesday that Tata did not have the necessary votes, “there was no need” to go through a very difficult hearing. It could take weeks to formally withdraw a nomination, the official said.
The sitting was scheduled for 9:30 am, and the notice of its cancellation was shared with lawmakers before 8 a.m., congressional officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. due to the sensitivity of the issue. The committee’s website confirmed the deletion by about 9 am
Inhofe acknowledged the change of plans in a statement shortly after 9 a.m., saying he had informed Trump on Wednesday night. The chairman did not say Tata̵7;s nomination was pulled by the administration, leaving the possibility for Trump to pressure lawmakers to vote for his nomination.
“There are a lot of Democrats and Republicans who didn’t know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a significant position at this point,” Inhofe said. “We did not receive the necessary documentation on time; some of the documents, which we normally have before a hearing, did not arrive until yesterday. As I told the President last night, we simply did not spend the time with the inscription next August, so it serves no useful purpose to have a hearing at this point, and it is earlier. ”
Among those who shared doubts about Tata was Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a fellow Army veteran facing a strong re-election challenge. She said in an interview on Tuesday that she was “still reviewing him” and could not say “I would be optimistic” about his chances, citing “comments from Iowans who are now retired but have worked with him.”
Sen. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) had also expressed doubts about Tata, though for different reasons. He put pressure on the Pentagon to add the names of sailors killed in a 1969 ship at sea at the Vietnam Veterans Monument, and does not commit to voting for the Tata.
“I’ve been visiting with him and I’m more comfortable with that, but we’ll have a chance at a hearing,” Cramer said Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll see later, how the hearing goes.”
Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) And Sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.) are also members of the Armed Services Committee, and are facing strong re-election challenges.
Inhofe made a sign that he would support Tata.
“He’s not a true tactical person,” Inhofe said Tuesday. “But of course, neither do I. The president doesn’t either.”