Trump says Jim Webb is not under consideration for Defense secretary

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE on Friday denied recent news reports that he is considering former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to be his next Pentagon chief.

“The story in the New York Times regarding Jim Webb being considered as the next Secretary of Defense is FAKE NEWS. I’m sure he is a fine man, but I don’t know Jim, and never met him. Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds MORE, who is Acting Secretary of Defense, is doing a great job!” the president tweeted Friday.

The New York Times was the first to report that the White House was considering Webb, followed by other media outlets like Politico.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Times article said Vice President Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit On The Money: Congress, White House aim to include debt limit increase in spending deal | McConnell optimistic budget deal near | Carson defends HUD eviction plan | Senate votes to undo tax hike on Gold Star families MORE had reached out to Webb, a former secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. A senior Pentagon official also said Webb’s name had been circulating in the White House, according to the Times.

A Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill on Friday that the Department of Defense “continues to focus on the defense of our great nation.”

Former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon reporters left in dark as Iran tensions escalate Trump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences MORE announced in a resignation letter submitted last month that he would resign at the end of February. However, Trump pushed him out two months earlier than planned following the release of the letter, which was implicitly critical of the president.

Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who became deputy Defense secretary in July 2017, is serving as acting secretary. Trump has said he is in no rush to find a permanent replacement and that Shanahan “could be there for a long time.”