Another Trump nominee is bowing out: Donald Trump announced on Twitter—of course—that acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn his nomination for permanent defense secretary. Trump simultaneously announced that he will next nominate Mark Esper, the current secretary of the army, for the post.
Trump’s announcement appears to suggest that Shanahan is stepping down as “acting” defense secretary as well.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Shanahan’s confirmation hearing, originally scheduled for today, was yesterday postponed until mid-July. According to Yahoo News, the delay was required because Trump had still not formally informed the Senate of his nomination and due to apparent delays in the background check process. Already this has been the longest the United States has gone without a confirmed secretary of defense in history.
Trump’s new nominee, Mike Esper, was previously a Raytheon executive and was named one of The Hill‘s “Top Lobbyists” of 2015 and 2016. Trump’s installation of top defense industry executives as Pentagon officials quickly became a point of contention between the White House and a critical Sen. John McCain, who warned against such nominations.