Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Trump’s pick for Pentagon chief pulls out

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his pick for defence secretary, Patrick Shanahan, has withdrawn, leaving the Pentagon without a permanent boss for more than six months just as tensions soar in the Middle East.
Shanahan “has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family,” Trump tweeted after Shanahan faced questions over his past personal life and an allegation of domestic violence. Trump said the army secretary, Mark Esper, will come in as acting secretary of defence.
There hasn’t been a full secretary of defense since the resignation of James Mattis in December last year after splits in the administration over Trump’s sudden decision to remove US troops from Syria.
The new upheaval in what is one of the biggest posts in the US government comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East, where the United States has accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the strategic Gulf of Oman.