GOP chairman dismisses 'phony' report of Trump second guessing Shanahan nomination

GOP chairman dismisses 'phony' report of Trump second guessing Shanahan nomination
© Stefani Reynolds
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Bottom Line Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday dismissed a news report that said President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE was having second thoughts on naming Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanWhy Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary Five questions for Trump's new defense secretary on first major tour Trump says media is part of vetting his nominees: 'We save a lot of money that way' MORE as Defense secretary.
 
"It's just a phony report that the president's going soft on this. He's not. I talked to him as recently as yesterday, and he's still committed on Shanahan," Inhofe said when asked about the status of the nomination.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
NBC News reported on Tuesday that Trump "appears to be having second thoughts" about naming Shanahan to lead the Pentagon. Four sources told the outlet that Trump had been asking about alternative candidates to Shanahan, who has been acting secretary since the beginning of the year.
 
The White House announced Trump's intention to nominate Shanahan as Defense secretary in early May. His nomination has been in limbo since then as lawmakers wait for Trump to formally submit the nomination to the Senate.
 
In the meantime, Shanahan has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill to meet with senators. He told reporters, when spotted in the Senate late last week, that he thought his paperwork would be submitted "soon."
 
Asked about Shanahan's nomination, Trump said this week that he has "put it out officially" and the acting secretary, who served as deputy to former Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE, "has to go through the process."
 
Inhofe told reporters on Wednesday that the hold-up had to do with waiting for the FBI's background check on Shanahan to wrap up and be submitted.
 
"They can't do that until after the FBI report comes in," Inhofe said, adding that it will probably be "another week" until the White House sends the nomination. 
 
A staffer who was standing next to Inhofe said the nomination could come as earlier as this week, though it might slip into next week.
 
Shanahan has had his ups and downs during the months-long process for picking a successor to Mattis, who resigned last year.
 
A high-profile feud with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.), an ally of Trump's, over Syria policy led to speculation that Shanahan could have trouble getting confirmed despite Republican control of the Senate.

In April, Shanahan faced an ethics review at the Pentagon. The Defense Department watchdog later cleared him of allegations that he violated his ethics agreement by favoring his former employer Boeing while serving in government.