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Shanahan Withdraws Following Disclosure Of Domestic Violence Charges

Trump’s pick for defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, has withdrawn from consideration and will step down as acting defense secretary after a family domestic violence scandal surfaced.

It’s been 168 days since former Defense Secretary James Mattis left the Trump administration in protest on January 1 — and the nation will have to wait even longer for a new permanent defense secretary. Shahanan’s exit also means that the Department of Defense doesn’t have confirmed nominees in four of the five top posts, according to the Military Times’ Leo Shane III.

“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,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “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!”

According to USA Today, the FBI has been looking into a 2010 incident between Shanahan and his ex-wife. Shanahan reportedly told police that his ex-wife, Kimberly, had punched him, while Kimberly told police that Shanahan had punched her. The Washington Post also reported that Shanahan’s son seriously injured Kimberly by beating her with a baseball bat, and that Shanahan defended his son because his mother “harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.”

Shanahan is the latest Trump Cabinet nominee to be felled by a domestic violence scandal.

Andrew Puzder was forced to withdraw from consideration as Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Labor thanks to a domestic violence scandal. And others have been forced to leave the administration after domestic violence incidents from their past emerged, notably former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.

It’s yet another instance of poor vetting by the Trump administration, which USA Today reports did not know about the domestic violence incident before nominating Shanahan to be deputy secretary of defense in 2017, nor when Trump decided to promote Shanahan to the Pentagon’s top role earlier this year following Mattis’ departure.

Trump, for his part, has already faced criticism for how long he’s left such an important administration role vacant.

But that criticism is likely to grow. Shanahan’s withdrawal from consideration comes as the Trump administration is escalating tensions with Iran, and days after Shanahan approved an additional 1,000 troops to be deployed to the Middle East.

Trump’s inability to nominate a competent person for such a vital role is a scary thought, especially as the worst voices in his orbit like national security adviser John Bolton push Trump toward conflictwith hostile nations.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

IMAGE: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at the Pentagon, May 6, 2019.

Pentagon Seething As White House Defends Attempt To Hide USS McCain

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended an effort by White House staff to ask the Navy to move the USS John S. McCain out of sight during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Japan.

The move comes after chief of Navy information Rear Adm. Charlie Brown last week confirmed “a request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain.”

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Mulvaney argued it’s “not an unreasonable thing” to ask about hiding the ship given “the president’s feelings towards the former senator.”

“The fact some 23- or 24-year-old person went to that site and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s the John McCain, we all know how the president feels about the former senator, that’s not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it?’” Mulvaney told host Chuck Todd. “That’s not an unreasonable thing to ask.”

The White House official also said it would be “silly” for someone to lose their job over the incident.

Mulvaney’s attempt to downplay the controversy comes as the Pentagon told the White House to stop politicizing the military. As Time reports, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan asked his chief of staff to speak with the White House military office “and reaffirm his mandate that the department of defense will not be politicized,” spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino said.

The acting defense secretary said that his senior staff members were unaware of White House officials’ request to obscure McCain’s name during the president’s visit, but told reporters he does not plan on ordering a Pentagon inspector general’s investigation “because there was nothing carried out.”

For his part, Trump called the request “well meaning.”

IMAGE: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday, June 2, 2019 via screenshot.

Emails Confirm Pentagon Effort To Keep USS John McCain ‘Out Of Sight’

Earlier this week, Republican activist Meghan McCain reacted angrily after learning about the Wall Street Journal’s report that some people in the White House wanted to keep the USS John McCain out of sight during President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, where he met with Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And CNBC’s Amanda Macias is reporting that two sources have confirmed that a government e-mail shows coordinated White House efforts to keep the warship out of view.

In the e-mail, posted by Macias on Twitter, one of the directives is that the “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.”

There was considerable animosity between Trump and Sen. McCain, who was 81 when he died of brain cancer on August 25, 2018. Trump deeply resented the Vietnam veteran and former POW for helping to derail the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare — and he in turn lambasted Trump vehemently after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland in July 2018.

 

Journalists have been reporting that given Trump’s disdain for the late Arizona senator, White House staffers wanted to hide the USS John McCain in order to avoid offending the president. The Pentagon, however, has responded that Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan was unaware of any plans to hide the warship, and Trump has said that he never ordered anyone to move it — although he said that whoever might have done that was “well-meaning.”

 

Thursday on ABC’s “The View,” which she co-hosts, Meghan McCain expressed her anger over the debacle — asserting, “It’s impossible to go through the grief process when my father, who’s been dead ten months, is constantly in the news cycle because the president is so obsessed with the fact that he’s never going to be a great man like he was.”

His daughter went on to say, “The president’s actions have consequences. And when you repeatedly are attacking my father and war heroes, it creates a culture in the military where people are clearly fearful to show my father’s name in one way or another.”

Acting Defense Secretary Corrects Trump On North Korea Missile Launch

Contrary to Trump’s assertion, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan admitted on Wednesday that North Korea’s recent missile tests did, indeed, violate United Nations resolutions against such actions, according to CNN.

“Let me just be clear: these were short-range missiles. Those are a violation of the UNSCR,” Shanahan said of the early May North Korea short-range ballistic missile tests.

Trump had a different assessment, saying on Monday that, “My people think it could have been a violation. I view it differently.”

Whether or not it is a violation is easy to figure out. In 2006, the United Nations passed a resolution stating that North Korea could not “conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile,” according to CNN. The resolution also imposed sanctions against North Korea for such actions.

Military experts like Shanahan agree it was a short-range ballistic missile test, violating the resolution.

Shanahan’s background includes years spent working at Boeing, where he served as vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

Trump’s background includes losing a billion dollars in a decade as an unsuccessful businessman.

Unlike Shanahan, Trump was unperturbed by North Korea’s first missile tests since 2017, downplaying them as “some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.”

Trump has a soft spot for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, telling a crowd in September that the two wrote each other beautiful letters and “fell in love.” Trump has held two high-profile meetings with Kim in what he has called an attempt to improve relations and work toward denuclearization of North Korea, with little success.

The latest batch of missile tests did not sit well, with Shanahan repeating the claim that they were a violation.

“A short-range missile, is that a violation? Yes,” Shanahan said. He added that his job is to enforce sanctions and “be ready in the situation that diplomacy fails.”

When it comes to trusting Kim or his own advisers, Trump seems to side with murderous dictators over Americans.

Published with permission of The American Independent.