Washington, DC – President Donald Trump on Tuesday (June 18) tweeted that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process.”
“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 tweeted.
“I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!” he added.
Later speaking with journalists, Trump clarified, “I did not ask him to withdraw,” but added that Shanahan’s departure will not complicate things.
The development took place as Shanahan publicly addressed allegations of domestic violence, which Trump said he heard of on Monday. The allegations are about the FBI investigating a 2010 incident in which Shanahan and his ex-wife accused each other of assault.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Shanahan called it “unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way.” 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.” In the same context, he added, “I would welcome the opportunity to be secretary of defense, but not at the expense of being a good father.”
Later, Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman announced in a statement that Shanahan met with Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper to begin transition planning. “The Acting Secretary will resign as Deputy Secretary of Defense effective midnight, June 23, 2019, and will conclude his service in the Department of Defense at that time. Under Executive Order 13533, Secretary of the Army Esper will become the Acting Secretary of Defense immediately thereafter. As the Acting Secretary of Defense beginning at 12:01 AM June 24, 2019, Dr. Esper will exercise all of the authorities and powers of the Secretary of Defense,” the statement elaborated.