Trump to weigh Shanahan nomination for Pentagon in coming days

May 3, 2019

President Trump said he will weigh a permanent nomination for acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in the coming days.

“It will be discussed next week,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday.

Mr. Shanahan has been running the Pentagon for 122 days, the longest tenure ever for a non-confirmed defense secretary. He took over the role at the start of the year after former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned.

Mr. Trump has said in the past he is “in no rush” to choose a permanent replacement for Mr. Mattis, who was well-liked on Capitol Hill, and has even mused that he at times prefers “acting” appointees because they give him more “flexibility.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe has warmed up to the idea of Mr. Shanahan permanently leading the Pentagon, and there is growing pressure on Mr. Trump to name a permanent secretary as soon as possible.

Earlier this year, Mr. Inhofe expressed worries of having an ‘acting’ secretary for so long, and argued “we have too many threats facing this nation to have so many key [Defense Department] officials serving in an ‘acting’ capacity.”

The former Boeing executive served as deputy secretary from mid-2017 until Mr. Mattis’ resignation. He was recently cleared in an internal ethics investigation into whether he improperly favored his former employer while at the Pentagon.