WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump said in a series of tweets Tuesday that the acting secretary of defense will not move forward with his confirmation process and will be replaced by the head of the Army.
Trump said Patrick Shanahan “has done a wonderful job” in his interim role but that he won’t seek the job on a permanent basis because he wants to devote more time to his family.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Shanahan had replaced James Mattis, whose resignation was set to take effect at the end of February but was moved up to Jan. 1 after the coverage of Mattis’ resignation letter angered President Trump. The letter mentioned fundamental disagreements on relationships with America’s allies and other issues.
A strained relationship between Shanahan and his ex-wife, Kimberley Jordinson, has been revealed through the FBI’s confirmation process investigation, including a domestic violence incident from 2010.
According to police documents, both parties allege the other was the aggressor in the incident
Shanahan released a statement earlier Tuesday in which he denied hitting his ex-wife.
“Though my marriage ended in sorrow and disappointment, I never laid a hand on my then-wife and cooperated fully in a thorough law enforcement investigation that resulted in her being charged with assault against me—charges which I had dropped in the interest of my family,” he said.
Shanahan had also been under investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general based on claims that he promoted his former employer Boeing over its competitor, Lockheed Martin.
Esper was Trump’s third nominee for secretary of the Army, and was confirmed in the Senate by an 89-6 vote in November 2017. He was chief of staff of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, from 1996 to 1998. Esper also served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense under former President George H.W. Bush.