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Shanahan Out at Pentagon, Esper Now Acting Secretary

President Donald Trump says Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing his nomination. President Donald Trump says Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing his nomination. | 

Updated: June 18, 2019 03:09 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he stepped down before his formal nomination ever went to the Senate over a "painful" family situation that would hurt his children and reopen "wounds we have worked years to heal."
    
President Donald Trump announced Shanahan's departure in a tweet, and said that Army Secretary Mark Esper would be the new acting Pentagon chief.
    
"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," Shanahan said in a statement. "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. Ultimately, their safety and well-being is my highest priority."
    
He provided no other details.

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The post atop the Pentagon has not been filled permanently since Gen. James Mattis retired in January.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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