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White House knew about nominee's domestic violence scandals and didn't care

Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination as Defense secretary after past domestic violence incidents became public.

By Emily Singer - June 19, 2019
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Trump is being rocked by yet another domestic violence scandal surrounding a top administration official.

CBS News reported that the White House has known for months about domestic violence incidents in now-former Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s past, yet moved forward with his nomination to become the permanent Pentagon chief anyway.

In fact, CBS reported that Trump was going to continue with Shanahan’s nomination even after the public learned about the domestic violence incidents the White House has known about for months.

But Shanahan decided on his own to withdraw on Tuesday, which will increase the time the U.S. will go without a permanent defense secretary. Currently, the permanent position has been vacant for 169 days.

The incidents that sunk Shanahan’s quest to become secretary of defense took place in 2010 and 2011. Police records document an incident in which both Shanahan and his now ex-wife claimed they were punched by the other.

In another incident, Shanahan’s son attacked his mother with a baseball bat, a beating so bad that she was left unconscious and bloodied, with both a skull fracture and other internal injuries that needed surgery to fix, according to the Washington Post. Shanahan defended his son in a memo, saying that his mother had “harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident,” the Post reported.

Shanahan is just the latest top Trump official to be felled by domestic violence.

Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was eventually forced to leave his role after it became public that Porter was accused of physically beating two ex-wives. That scandal dragged on for weeks, as the Trump administration refused to acknowledge what they knew about Porter’s history of abuse, and why he was allowed to stay in the role.

And early on in the Trump administration, another Cabinet nominee, Andrew Puzder, was forced to withdraw after a video of his ex-wife speaking to Oprah Winfrey about the domestic violence she suffered at his hands surfaced.

Having even one of these domestic violence scandals rock a presidential administration is wild. But the fact that the Trump administration has now had to deal with the fallout from three top officials who have been hit with domestic violence allegations is truly hard to fathom.

It should leave every American wondering why a White House would allow people with such awful pasts to ascend to top roles in the executive branch.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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