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Pick for Defense Chief Abruptly Drops Out

Trump thanks Patrick Shanahan, says ex-nominee wants to spend more time with family
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2019 1:06 PM CDT
In this Jan. 28, 2019, file photo, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan speaks with the media in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – President Trump will need a new nominee to run the Pentagon. Trump announced via tweet that Patrick Shanahan, the current acting defense secretary, has taken his name out of the running for the top job, reports the Wall Street Journal. Shanahan "has done a wonderful job" but "has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family," the president tweeted. Shanahan, a former Boeing exec who became deputy secretary of defense in 2017, has not elaborated himself. He also is stepping down as interim defense secretary.

The move comes hours after USA Today ran a story about an alleged domestic abuse incident involving Shanahan in 2010. At the time, both Shanahan and his then-wife told police they were punched by the other. Shanahan adamantly denies ever hitting his former wife, saying the incident "is not dissimilar to those of the many families facing the difficult challenges that come when a loved one struggles with substance abuse and other emotional issues," per a statement. "I wish nothing but the best for her," he adds. Replacing Shanahan as acting secretary will be Secretary of the Army Mark Esper. "I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!" tweeted Trump. (Read more defense secretary stories.)

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