The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick for second in command of the Pentagon by a vote of 92-7 in a largely bipartisan vote.
Although Patrick Shanahan has successfully moved through the Senate confirmation process for the position of deputy secretary of defense, Democrats are far from ready to forward the process with other Trump nominees.
Currently, there are 40 Trump nominees in the queue for Senate confirmation. Four of those nominees are for Pentagon positions. In this case, seven Democrats voted against Shanahan’s confirmation, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders.
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said he had faith in Shanahan’s ability to execute the job.
“The department currently faces challenges on multiple fronts. For more than 16 years our military has been consumed by two prolonged wars against violent extremist groups like ISIS,” Reed said.
“If Mr. Shanahan is confirmed, he will need to contend with all these challenges,” Reed added. “Mr. Shanahan has developed a strong reputation in his tenure at Boeing as someone capable of taking on challenges, fixing problems and turning them into successes. I believe he is fully qualified for the job.”
While Shanahan’s history as an executive at the defense contractor Boeing raised some eyebrows, his past work history ultimately did not block his confirmation. What did potentially threaten Shanahan’s chances, however, was a clash with GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, over ways to respond to Russian aggression. McCain pushed Shanahan for an answer on whether he would back providing lethal aid to Ukraine.
“Not a good beginning. Not a good beginning. Do not do that again, Mr. Shanahan, or I will not take your name up for a vote before this committee,” McCain said in June.
After the hearing concluded, Shanahan resubmitted written answers indicating that he would support sending lethal aid to Ukraine to fight separatists loyal to Russia.
Shanahan was initially announced as the nominee for deputy defense secretary March 16. He is set to replace Robert Work, who has served in the position since 2014.
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