July 31, 2020 / 4:54 PM / 8 days ago

Trump still supports Pentagon nominee after confirmation hearing canceled - White House

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about racial inequality protests and the situation in Portland, Oregon during a meeting with leadership from the National Association of Police Organizations in a very dark Cabinet Room with all of the curtains drawn and closed at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump still supports Anthony Tata, his pick for undersecretary of defense for policy, despite the abrupt cancellation of Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearing for the divisive nominee, the White House said on Friday.

“I have no personnel announcements other [than] to say that the President still supports him,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said when asked about whether Trump would appoint Tata in an acting role, bypassing Congress to give him a temporary post.

Senator Jim Inhofe, the Republican head of the Armed Services Committee, said many lawmakers did not know enough about Tata to consider him for the position at this time and canceled the confirmation hearing, in light of the upcoming congressional August recess.

Tata, a retired Army brigadier general who has been an ardent defender of Trump in appearances on Fox News, would hold the most senior policy position in the Pentagon if confirmed.

In addition to falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim and a terrorist, Tata has also called Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an African American, a “race baiting racist,” according to now-deleted Twitter posts seen by Reuters.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski

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