Which begs the question: is there a ever vetting process beyond Trump just likes the guy?
Patrick Shanahan’s qualifications for the job were roundly questioned when Trump first named him acting Defense Secretary. Not so much because he didn’t have intricate knowledge of defense systems and the military, but because of his deep ties to a single contractor: Boeing, where he’d spent more than 3 decades before coming over to the Trump Administration.
Shanahan seemed to have risen above that initial doubt and proven to be a good egg. And seemed to default a lot less on the world stage toward belligerence and threats of violence than Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (And usually, it’s the other way around.)
Shanahan went so far as to put out a strongly worded admonition to the armed forces as a whole, after a Navy destroyer bearing John McCain’s name was deliberately concealed during Trump recent Japan visit. (An incident Trump says never happened.) In it, Shanahan wrote:
“Regardless of whether civilian employees may engage in political activity, they may never engage in such activity while on-duty.”
He’ll be replaced as acting Defense Secretary by Mark Esper, who is current Secretary of the Army, West Point graduate, and Army vet. He’s also worked as a defense industry lobbyist.
The Washington Post points out had he gone ahead with required hearings to be officially named Defense Secretary, he would’ve faced questioning about a serious of family violence incident, including a truly bizarre episode where Shanahan’s then 17-year old son attacked his mother with a baseball bat, leaving her skull fractured.
As you can see, Trump didn’t immediately offer any explanations other than the standard “more time with the family”, but seems to us the President has more explaining to do than that. (Though not to stalwart Trump supporters: it’s amazing to us how many are Tweeting right now things like “he just wanted a paycheck” and “Trump demands more!” No! Trump nominated him, he didn’t get nominated by the universe. The bucks gotta stop with the President sometime.)
Or maybe not.
As we’d pointed out when Trump first named Shanahan after forcing celebrated General Jim Mattis out, Shanahan had shortly before heaped praise upon Trump at a public event. He’s been particularly supportive of Trump’s “Space Force”.
Here’s the video of that:
Apparently, in the Trump Administration, that’s all the vetting that’s necessary, skeletons in the closet be damned! (And in this case they’re all a matter of public record with police reports, and very serious).