June 14, 2019

'You have to know how to hit a curveball': Trump’s Pentagon choice fights to win over doubters

Featuring Elbridge Colby

Source: POLITICO

Journalists David Brown, Wesley Morgan, Connor O'Brien, Daniel Lippman

The knocks on President Donald Trump’s defense-secretary-in-waiting have been circulating for months behind closed doors in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

Pat Shanahan is the "Boeing guy" who is still doing the bidding of his former employer, his critics inside and outside the administration say. He allows White House appointees, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, to directly contact lower Pentagon officials, according to current and former Defense Department officials who consider it a breach of the chain of command. He obsesses about his image — as shown in the all-black turtleneck ensemble he wore for a February visit to Afghanistan, which earned him mocking comparisons to a Bond villain or Keanu Reeves' character from “The Matrix.”

So far, none of this flak has sunk Shanahan’s belief that Trump will nominate him to lead the Pentagon, a step the president announced more than a month ago but has yet to submit to the Senate. But it offers a preview of the steep hill to confirmation that could be awaiting the longtime aerospace executive, who has already withstood an investigation into his handling of Boeing, unhappiness inside the White House over his performances at hearings and international gatherings, and the more recent flap involving the destroyer USS John S. McCain.

Read the full article and more in POLITICO.

Authors

  • Elbridge Colby

    Former Director, Defense Program

    Elbridge Colby is the former Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security, where he led CNAS’ work on defense issues. Previously, Colby served as ...