Senate abruptly cancels confirmation hearing for top Pentagon official

July 30 (UPI) — A scheduled confirmation hearing for a senior civilian position in the Trump administration was was canceled at the last minute Thursday morning.

Anthony J. Tata was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy, but has faced criticism for past remarks including calling former President Barack Obama “a terrorist leader.”

Sources told the Washington Post that by Wednesday afternoon the administration had determined it did not have enough Republican votes to confirm Tata.

“There are many Democrats and Republicans who didn’t know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time,” Senate Armed Services Committee chair Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement Thursday. “We didn’t get the required documentation in time; some documents, which we normally get before a hearing, didn’t arrive until yesterday. As I told the President last night, we’re simply out of time with the August recess coming, so it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose to have a hearing at this point, and he agreed.”

The Pentagon did not comment on whether Trump has withdrawn Tata’s nomination, referring questions on the matter to the White House.

In recent weeks Tata has served in an unconfirmed capacity as a senior adviser to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper.

The hearing was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday and lawmakers were notified of its cancellation by 8 a.m.

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