Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to hold the post in a permanent capacity, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday in tweets.
The president said Shanahan had opted to “devote more time to his family.” Trump said he would name Army Secretary Mark Esper as the new acting defense secretary.
Shanahan has served as the department’s acting chief since December, when former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in protest over Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
In May, the president announced Shanahan as his pick to lead the department on a permanent basis but stalled in sending his formal nomination to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Shanahan’s confirmation process was delayed due to an ongoing FBI investigation looking into, among other things, reported incidents of domestic violence in his family.
The alleged incidents largely stemmed from Shanahan’s divorce from Kimberley Jordinson. Shanahan and Jordinson alleged they were assaulted by one another, and Jordinson was arrested and charged with domestic violence during one dispute in 2010. Shanahan dropped the charges and later filed for divorce.
In a separate incident in November 2011, Shanahan initially defended William Shanahan, his son who was 17 at the time, after he beat Jordinson with a baseball bat. The attack left her bloody and unconscious, with a fractured skull and internal injuries that necessitated surgery, according to court and police records reviewed by The Washington Post.
In a memo two weeks later to his ex-wife’s brother, Shanahan claimed his son acted in self-defense.
“Use of a baseball bat in self-defense will likely be viewed as an imbalance of force,” he wrote. “However, Will’s mother harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.”
In interviews with the Post this week, Shanahan said he regretted how he handled the incident.
“Quite frankly, it’s difficult to relive that moment and the passage was difficult for me to read. I was wrong to write those three sentences,” he said. “I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified. I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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