I guess we now have an acting-acting defense secretary:
President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, leaving the Pentagon in transition at a time of escalating tensions with Iran and questions about the role of the military at the border with Mexico….The move leaves the Pentagon leader at a time of escalating tensions with Iran after attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the explosions that damaged the two tankers.
In a Twitter post, the president said the withdrawal was the decision of Mr. Shanahan, who has served for six months as acting defense secretary. But it is the president’s prerogative to withdraw the nomination.
This is nuts. Jim Mattis left at the end of 2018. It’s now been 180 days since he announced his resignation and Trump still has no idea who he wants as his Secretary of Defense. Shanahan was just a convenient stand-in, and his replacement is another convenient stand-in. Are the Republican ranks of defense hawks really so depleted that there’s not a single conservative left who’s suitable to run the Pentagon?