President Trump today pulled the nomination of Patrick Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, saying on Twitter that Mr. Shanahan would devote more time to his family.
Trump named Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, to take over as acting secretary of defense.
He did not say whether Mr. Esper would be nominated for the permanent position.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
During his six-month tenure as the department’s acting secretary, Shanahan was criticized for slighting Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s chief competitor, for its mismanagement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft that is years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.
He was widely viewed as acquiescing to the White House and other government officials, including John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state.
Shanahan famously said that the Pentagon would not be viewed as the “Department of No.”
The FBI has been examining a violent domestic dispute from nine years ago between Shanahan and his then-wife as part of a background investigation.
The incident, in which Shanahan and his then-wife Kimberley both claimed to the police that they had been punched by the other, did not surface when Trump nominated Shanahan to be the Pentagon’s second-in-command two years ago, or when he was selected to be the interim defense chief this year.
Shanahan said he “never laid a hand on” his former wife.
His former wife, who now goes by the name Kimberley Jordinson, said she stands by her account.