Trump says Jim Webb is not under consideration for Defense secretary

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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 ShanahanPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Overnight Defense: Four Americans killed in Syria suicide attack | State of the Union becomes latest shutdown flashpoint | Missile defense review on track for Thursday release Four Americans killed in ISIS-claimed attack in Syria 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.

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The Times article said Vice President Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Former PepsiCo CEO being considered for World Bank chief post: report Ivanka Trump to help pick new World Bank president, but will not be one of the candidates 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 MattisFox's Griffin: Was told by diplomat that Syria attack was 'direct result' of US pullout decision GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions 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.”