Sen. Mike Johanns said Thursday it doesn’t bother him that he and Sen. Deb Fischer find themselves on different sides of Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary.
Johanns is supporting the nomination, while home-state colleague and fellow Republican Fischer announced Thursday that she will oppose it.
Johanns said he had no criticism of Fischer’s decision.
“Deb was elected here to exercise her best judgment,” Johanns said during his weekly conference call with reporters. “Neither one of us runs around telling each other how we should vote on a given item.”
Johanns recapped his own reasoning for supporting the nomination, noting that he likely knows Hagel better than any other member of the U.S. Senate.
“I took a very thorough look at this. Some said ‘Why are you being so pokey? You’ve known Chuck forever. He’s a friend of yours. Why don’t you just say you’re going to vote for him?”
Johanns said his own review left him comfortable with the nomination.
“I do think he’ll be strong with our allies. I think he’ll be strong with the men and women who wear the uniform,” Johanns said. “And I do think I’ll be able to work with Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. I do believe when I call him I’ll get through to Chuck Hagel and we’ll be able to talk about issues that are important to our nation and to our state.”