President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Tuesday that acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan is no longer in consideration for a more permanent job leading the Pentagon.
“Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter Tuesday. He then announced Mike Esper, the secretary of the Army, would be nominated for the Defense post.
Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, was tentatively scheduled to appear before Congress for a confirmation hearing Tuesday, but it was suddenly pushed back due to an FBI investigation. Then came a USA Today report saying Shanahan was struggling to make it through an FBI background check, possibly due to domestic violence incidents between him, his ex-wife, and his son.
His then-wife was arrested for punching him in 2010 — she accused Shanahan of punching her in the stomach to start — and his then-17-year-old son was arrested in 2011 for hitting his mother with a baseball bat. Shanahan told the Washington Post that bringing the incidents up publicly would “ruin my son’s life” and said “This is a tragedy, really.” He denied ever hitting his ex-wife.
Shanahan, 56, previously served as deputy secretary of defense but ascended to acting secretary in January. Some are questioning why these incidents didn’t come up in a background check when he was up for deputy secretary.
“Though my marriage ended in sorrow and disappointment, I never laid a hand on my then-wife and cooperated fully in a thorough law enforcement investigation that resulted in her being charged with assault against me,” Shanahan said in a statement to USA Today.
Cover: FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019 file photo, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks about the situation in the Persian Gulf region during a meeting with Portuguese Minister of National Defense Joao Cravinho, at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)