Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Wednesday questioned the vetting of Pat Shanahan, who Tuesday pulled out of consideration as Secretary of Defense over family issues, saying he wonders why further information was not known about the former Boeing executive.
"All that begs the question, how was this not brought to light earlier?" Shanahan told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
He also said the Department of Defense needs a confirmed secretary, not an acting one, at a "very critical time" when there is a great deal of international turmoil and at a time when the military is going through modernization.
"I hope the White House and Pentagon will move to ensure there is a nominee to be confirmed in that position and consider putting someone in that position who understands our national defense strategy and understands the naval components of that strategy," Gallagher said.
President Donald Trump, while announcing Shanahan's decision, said Secretary of the Army Mark Esper is now the acting Secretary of Defense.
Gallagher, meanwhile, said he used to work in the Senate staff doing the vetting for secretary nominees, and while vetters do their best, they must also rely on the information on hand.
"This raises a host of questions about the vetting process, and we want to make sure the president has the team he needs to advance his agenda, but at the same time, we need to know these people are fulfilling basic criteria," Gallagher said. "We just need to do a very thorough job prior to embarking on this stuff."
Esper is "incredibly smart," said Gallagher, and he has had "nothing but productive interactions with him as a member of the Armed Services Committee.
"The president needs someone to share his views and advance the military rebuild and modernization," Gallagher said. "I hope they make that choice quickly."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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