From Donald Trump’s tax returns, to Robert Mueller’s testimony and Rudy Giuliani’s embarrassing attempt at concocting a Joe Biden scandal, it was a tumultuous week for the Trump White House and its bottomless pit of scandals. There was one that barely made headlines, however, but is nonetheless important and could probably play a bit louder next week than the Trump administration would like it to.
For more than 125 days, the country has been without a Secretary of Defense. To put that in perspective, that’s the longest we’ve ever been without one since the position was created. Most people on both sides of the aisle admired the career of former Defense Secretary James Mattis and his willingness to stand up to the more un-American aspects of Donald Trump’s agenda, but what little we know about Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan has not been all that flattering.
At present, the average person probably wouldn’t recognize the name, but that may change soon, once Shanahan’s confirmation hearings begin. The combined insanity we’ve seen this week from the likes of both Trump and Giuliani could have been meant in part to distract us from any controversy that would erupt regarding Shanahan, whose nomination was announced this week and is already inviting controversy.
“Donald Trump wants nothing more than a toady and a yes man, to do whatever he wants, with no push back,” said Jon Soltz, who runs the organization VoteVets, in a statement. Among the actions Shanahan has taken that prove him unfit for this position: supporting the transgender troop ban, sending troops to the border as an election season stunt for Republicans, and failing to develop a coherent global security strategy, as America loses the trust of its allies overseas. Soltz, an Iraq War veteran, has asked that Congress not support Shanahan for the position.
Shanahan isn’t without opposition in Congress either. Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona is already urging Senators to vote no, citing Shanahan’s role in covering up the scandalous 2017 Niger mission, in which 4 American soldiers were killed in an ambush. These episodes were embarrassing for the Trump administration when they happened, and will be coming to light at a particularly bad time as the 2020 election heats up and his record on national security will be on the table.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making