Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will not go through the nomination process and will resign from his position in order to “devote more time with his family,” President Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
The decision comes as alleged domestic incidents in his family’s past have become public.
“The confirmation process should focus on securing our nation against threats, readiness and the future of our military, and ensuring the highest quality care and support for service members and their families,” Shanahan said in a statement. “After having been confirmed for Deputy Secretary less than two years ago, it is unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way in the course of this process.
“I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family’s life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal,” he added. “Ultimately, their safety and well-being is my highest priority.”
President Trump tweeted that he had tapped Army Secretary Mark Esper as the new acting secretary of defense. Esper, 56, has been in his post since Nov. 17, 2017. He was a former Raytheon executive.