Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Withdraws Nomination, Trump Announces

Patrick Shanahan

Patrick Shanahan

Acting U.S. defense chief Patrick Shanahan has made a decision to withdraw his nomination as Secretary of Defense, . after serving as the Pentagon's acting chief since the turn of the year.

"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", Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. Shanahan said he "never laid a hand on" his wife and his family was being "forced to relive a tragic situation that we have worked so hard as a family to put behind us".

In a statement late Monday, Shanahan said it was "painful" to see his past "dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way as a result of this nomination process". He added the disclosure of the incident would "ruin my son's life".

Shanahan's time as acting head of the Pentagon had also been clouded by questions over whether he had the experience to lead the Defense Department, how his friendly relationship with his long-time former employer Boeing might affect his tenure, and whether he was overly deferential to National Security Adviser John Bolton and his staff. "I think the larger problem is that we have an acting government".

Shanahan's ex-wife and son could not be reached for comment.

In this photo from November 2, 2017, Mark Esper testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing to be army secretary, in Washington.

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The unexpected announcement will bring about a change in leadership at the Pentagon just as military tensions between the US and Iran escalate. His 1986 yearbook described him as someone who excelled and spent time "out in the woods playing soldier and burning down mountainsides".

Worries about a confrontation between the two countries have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Gulf. Hours before withdrawing his name, Mr. Shanahan had announced that an additional 1,000 American troops would be deployed to the Middle East to counter an increasingly belligerent Iran. "It's appalling, and it shows the chaos in this administration", he told reporters.

Shanahan was the longest official in history to serve as secretary of defence in only an acting capacity, according to Pentagon records. Part of the delay was due to Shanahan being under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegedly seeking preferential treatment of Boeing while at the department. He was cleared of wrongdoing in April. In more than four months as the acting secretary, he focused on implementing the national defense strategy that was developed during Mattis' tenure and emphasizes a shift from the resources and tactics required to fight small wars against extremist groups to what Shanahan calls "great power" competition with China and Russian Federation.

Shanahan did not have prior experience in national security matters before he was picked by Mattis to be his deputy.

As those details began to emerge, the president on Tuesday announced that Mr. Shanahan was withdrawing his name from consideration.

Sources suggest to TAC that the information released recently about Shanahan's messy divorce played a role in his decision to step down.

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