President Trump said he will “most likely” nominate Army Secretary Mark T. Esper to be his next Pentagon chief, potentially creating some stability after acting defense secretary Patrick M. Shanahan’s surprise decision to withdraw from consideration for the job and leave government service.
“That’s what I’m thinking about doing,” Trump said Tuesday, adding that he will make his choice “pretty soon.”
The comments came after a tumultuous day in which Shanahan stepped aside after The Washington Post and other media outlets detailed past domestic abuse in his family, including an incident in which Shanahan’s son attacked his own mother with a baseball bat.
Esper, 55, was named by the president as the acting replacement for Shanahan on Tuesday afternoon. He is expected to take over as acting defense secretary on Monday, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels next week.
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