President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan is leaving his post as acting defense secretary, hours after reports about a 1990 domestic dispute involving Shanahan and his ex-wife came to light.
Trump didn’t refer to those reports. He said Shanahan would not be going through with the Senate confirmation process to take on the top Pentagon post permanently, but would instead “devote more time with his family.”
Army Secretary Mark Esper will be named acting defense secretary in Shanahan’s stead, Trump tweeted.
The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General says acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is in full compliance with his ethics agreements and official obligations — turning back allegations that he took actions to promote Boeing, his former employer, and disparage its competitors.
The findings of a weeks-long investigation, issued today, seem likely to clear what might have been an obstacle standing in the way of Shanahan taking on the Pentagon’s post on a permanent basis.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who was a veteran Boeing executive before going to the Pentagon, is facing an ethics investigation amid complaints that he has been talking up his former employer and disparaging Boeing’s competitors.
The Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General today acknowledged that it was looking into the complaints about actions that were “allegedly in violation of ethics rules.”
Shanahan, who spent much of his 31 years at Boeing managing commercial airplane programs, won Senate confirmation to become assistant defense secretary in 2017 and took over as acting defense secretary after James Mattis’ departure at the end of last year.
When Shanahan came to the Pentagon, he pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving Boeing. But in January, Politico quoted two unnamed former government officials as saying that he repeatedly praised Boeing and trashed Lockheed Martin during high-level internal meetings.