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Trump says Jim Webb is not under consideration for Defense secretary

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 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 ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January 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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security 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 MattisNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies 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.”