{{show_title_date || "Richardson: North Korea is picking weapons development over..., 2/17/13, 7:00 PM ET"}}

Hagel delay a ‘function of the Tea Party’

Updated

Former New Mexico Gov. and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson says the Tea Party is partly to blame for delaying the confirmation vote of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. Richardson says some senators got personal, with some even lobbing unsubstantiated claims during hearings and on the Senate floor.

“I think that’s a function of the tea party that’s still a major player within the Republican party circles. And I don’t think the Republican strategy is to stop them. So that’s unfortunate and that’s going to mean more problems for further cabinet nominees that the President still hasn’t sent up.” Richardson told Jansing & Co.

Richardson was confirmed twice by the Senate, as energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Richardson, who recently visited North Korea with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, says he’s concerned about the North’s recent underground nuclear test. The U.N. Security Council will meet later this week to discuss what to do.

“What the North Koreans did was basically send a signal that they’re going to continue to be isolated and they’re picking weapons development over economic development and that’s unfortunate,” said Richardson.

Richardson says new leadership in China and South Korea need to step up with the United States to develop a credible diplomatic strategy. “We can’t continue to isolate North Korea because they have nuclear weapons, they have a million and a half men in arms, they have missiles. They’re a danger in northeast Asia.”

Hagel delay a 'function of the Tea Party'

Updated