Shanahan withdraws from Pentagon chief consideration process

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that Pat Shanahan has chose to end his bid to become the next defense secretary, after reports emerged of domestic violence during Shanahan's marriage.

Acting U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to head the U.S. military, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday, stoking uncertainty about the leadership of the Pentagon at a moment of rising tension with Iran.

The former Boeing executive did not have prior experience in national security matters before he was picked by then-Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to be his deputy.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan discusses the situation in the Persian Gulf region during a meeting at the Pentagon on June 14.

The newspaper reported here that Shanahan said in a statement late on Monday that he "never laid a hand on" his former wife. 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.

He said he did not ask Shanahan to withdraw--stepping down was the nominee's decision--and, when asked about the domestic violence incidents in Shanahan's family, said, "I had heard about it yesterday for the first time".

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The FBI reportedly is probing domestic violence incidents involving Mr. Shanahan, his then-wife and his son, and that lengthy federal investigation had been holding up the confirmation process. Shanahan, who defended his son in the wake of the incident, told the Washington Post that he feared the confirmation process, and the resulting media focus on the years-old incident, would re-traumatize his family.

Defense officials said that leaders are trying to decide when Esper would take over the job.

He said he did not want his three children "to relive a traumatic chapter in our family's life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal". "I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!"

The announcement comes one day after Shanahan revealed that the Pentagon will deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in response to escalating Iranian aggression.

"I'm in contact with the White House". The move appeared set to fill a void left after former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis abruptly resigned late a year ago. "Esper also served as the Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Chuck Hagel", the bio said.

Esper who was confirmed as Army secretary in November 2017, is a former Raytheon Co. vice president for government relations.

  • Sonia Alvarado