Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to head the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has said, announcing that the current Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will become the new acting secretary.
The abrupt move was announced Tuesday by the US president on Twitter, his social media platform of choice.
Shanahan’s decision was explained by his desire to “devote more time to his family,” according to Trump.
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....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Shanahan’s decision has been reportedly triggered by the background check process, that comes as a part of the confirmation for the Pentagon chief office. Earlier on Tuesday, US media reported that the FBI had been investigating a 2010 domestic fight between Shanahan and his then-wife.
Both of them accused each other of starting the fight, yet Shanahan has always maintained he never hit his former spouse, reiterating it once again in a statement issued shortly before Trump’s tweet.
“I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family’s life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal. Ultimately, their safety and well-being is my highest priority,” Shanahan said in a statement explaining his decision.
Esper has served as Army secretary since 2017. Prior to that, he was vice president of government relations at Raytheon, a major defense contractor that manufactures guided missiles and electronics. He was recognized as a top corporate lobbyist by the Hill in 2015 and 2016.'
Read more: 'Raytheon in, Boeing out' as acting SecDef Shanahan withdraws from Pentagon