Trump Administration Searches for Defense Secretary #3 🛡️

Tom Brenner / Getty Images

Tom Brenner / Getty Images

A withdrawn confirmation

Last month, President Trump stated his intention to confirm acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan for the permanent position. Earlier in the week, the confirmation process had been inexplicably delayed. On Tuesday, the President tweeted that Shanahan opted not to move forward with the confirmation process, citing his desire to “devote more time to his family.”

Inconclusive evidence  

The announcement arrives amid media reports regarding domestic violence disputes that occurred in Shanahan’s family nine years ago, though charges were dropped at the time due to lack of evidence. Trump disclosed to reporters Tuesday that he was likely to nominate Army Secretary Mark Esper for the permanent position.


Wall Street Journal: Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan Won’t Seek Confirmation, Trump Says

Fox News: Shanahan Drops Out of Contention to Lead Pentagon, As Trump Taps Army Secretary

The right reports news of Patrick Shanahan’s decision factually, omitting information regarding the domestic violence allegations. Additional emphasis is placed on Trump’s tweets that had thanked Shanahan for his service and announced the nomination of Mark Esper. Most sources include Shanahan’s statement describing his family as his first priority.


Politico: Shanahan’s Defense Secretary Nomination Collapses, Leaving Another Void in Trump's Cabinet

TPM: Gruesome Domestic Violence Details Emerge As Shanahan Pulls DOD Nomination

The left focuses on the details of Shanahan’s extensive and longer-than-usual FBI background check that was part of the confirmation process. They particularly address the domestic violence claims, as well as his professional past as a Boeing executive. These outlets also focus on the frequency of cabinet changes in the Trump administration.

Where's the common ground?

While reporting may differ, neither side has criticized Shanahan’s decision to withdraw from the confirmation process. At present, the United States faces its longest interval without a confirmed Secretary of Defense, leading both sides to support the prospect of a permanent leader of the Pentagon.

The administration right now:



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