- Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from the confirmation process for secretary of defense and decided to step down from his current position.
- This move comes amid reports exposing his family’s troubled history with domestic violence.
- In one incident, an argument between Shanahan and his wife escalated into a physical altercation, and in an another, his son struck his mother in the head with a baseball bat and knocked her unconscious, according to reports from USA Today and The Washington Post.
- "I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family’s life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal," Shanahan said in a statement announcing his withdrawal.
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President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon is withdrawing his name from consideration and stepping down as acting secretary of defense as reports emerged about his role in two cases of domestic violence that he called a "traumatic chapter in our family’s life."
Although the president expressed his intent to nominate Shanahan in early May, an FBI background check has been taking longer than expected due, at least in part, to investigations into his family’s violent history, USA Today reported Tuesday.
"It is unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up," Shanahan said in a statement Tuesday. "I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family’s life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal."
In the summer of 2010, a late-night, alcohol-fueled argument escalated into a bloody physical altercation between Shanahan and Kimberley Jordinson, his wife at the time of the incident. Authorities arrived on the scene to discover Shanahan with a bloody nose and hand and his wife with a blood-stained forearm, according to the court filings and police reports obtained by USA Today.
Each accused the other of physical aggression. Authorities found no evidence to support Jordinson’s version of events. Police arrested Shanahan’s wife on suspicion of domestic violence.
Shanahan later had the charges dropped and filed for divorce, but the violence didn’t stop after the couple split up, according to a report from The Washington Post.
In the fall of 2011, Jordinson got into another late-night argument, this time with her 17-year-old son William. That fight quickly escalated into a bloody episode, when William, according to police reports, "shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall" before taking a baseball bat to his mother’s head.
She suffered a fractured skull, among other serious injuries.
Authorities determined that William left his mother "to lie in a pool of blood" and then "unplugged the landline phone cord depriving the victim and [the younger brother] the use of 911 to render aid," The Post reported, citing police reports.
Shanahan initially rushed to his son’s defense, getting William a hotel room and drafting a memo arguing that his son was acting in self-defense, but he later delivered his son to the police to surrender.
"I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever," Shanahan told The Post, adding that there is "certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat."
Jordinson continued to find herself involved in other allegations that would eventually cost her custody of her youngest child.
The mother is now estranged from all three of her children, who were seen sitting behind Shanahan during his confirmation hearing to become deputy secretary of defense in 2017. His family history did not make its way into that hearing, but it is unlikely these incidents would have avoided scrutiny again.
Shanahan’s last day at the Pentagon will be Friday.
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