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I was on the phone acting secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan out of the running Tuesday to be president Donald trump's permanent defense chief in a tweet trump said Shanahan will not go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family that announcement came soon after a report from USA today that said the F. B. I. was examining a violent domestic dispute from nine years ago between Shanahan and his then wife as part of his background check ahead of a possible confirmation hearing the report included a nine one one call in which Shanahan's then wife claims he struck her according to the USA today reports Shanahan said he quote never laid a hand on his former wife Tuesday's announcement leaves the Pentagon without a permanent leader at a moment of escalating tensions with the run after multiple attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf Shanahan a former Boeing executive was appointed to be the Pentagon second in command two years ago until he became the interim defense chief in January after general James Mattis resigned his departure came shortly after the White House announced plans to withdraw US troops from Syria in his resignation letter to trump mata said quote you deserve to have a secretary of defense whose views aligned with yours the United States now faces the longest period in its history without a confirmed as secretary of defense in a second tweet on Tuesday trump named mark esper the secretary of the army and a former Raytheon executive to take over as acting secretary of defense but didn't say whether asper would be nominated for the permanent position