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 Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, seated between national security adviser John Bolton and President Trump, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 22, 2019.
Shanahan had been the deputy secretary of defense until Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned on January 1.
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.
"After having been confirmed for deputy secretary less than two years ago, it is 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 in the course of this process".
After Shanahan withdrew from consideration, lawmakers immediately began raising questions about what the White House knew and when. Jack Reed of Nevada, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was concerned that the panel wasn't fully aware of the 1990 domestic incident during Shanahan's 2017 confirmation hearings - and that the issue should be addressed during the confirmation process for the permanent Pentagon post.
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A source familiar with the situation said Shanahan met Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, telling him that he wanted to step down.
The post atop the Pentagon has not been filled permanently since James Mattis stepped down in at the end of 2018 following policy differences with Trump.
"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". While Shanahan said he "never laid a hand" on then-wife Kimberly Jordinson, according to the paper, she said she stands by her account.
"I'm in contact with the White House".
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks at an event presented by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters the committee was not informed of Shanahan's domestic history when he was nominated and confirmed as deputy secretary in 2017.
This story is developing and will be updated.