Swing And A HOLY SH*T! Acting Defense Sec Shanahan Out After SWEET JESUS!
Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan is out at the Department of Defense. The former Boeing executive will have to go back to plying his multi-million dollar ass-kissing skills in the private sector again since Donald Trump has withdrawn his nomination to the Senate "so that he can devote more time to his family." Safe bet that Shanahan's nomination as Father of the Year is on ice as well amid allegations of spousal abuse and his disgraceful behavior after his teenage son cracked his mother's skull with a baseball bat in 2011 after which Shanahan successfully argued that the 17-year-old should get a deferred adjudication and disappeared the kid's phone, which may or may not have contained evidence of an illegal sexual relationship with a much older woman.
YES, THAT'S JUST THE START.
Shanahan's nomination was already looking shaky before the Washington Post's seriously shocking blockbuster of a story -- which the Post has been reporting since January -- came out. This weekend, Politico had an embarrassing story on John Bolton rolling the hapless Shanahan, who was too terrified of having his nomination withdrawn to object when the mustachioed National Security Advisor went around him and issued orders directly to Pentagon employees in Shanahan's chain of command. Asked about Shanahan's prospects of a formal nomination to head DOD, Trump told Fox, "We are going to see." And, hooboy, was he ever right!
Shanahan had finally been cleared of ethics violations for improperly favoring his former employer Boeing and shitting on its rival Lockheed Martin, but his formal nomination was on hold before the Senate Armed Services Committee, pending an FBI background check. Yahoo reported last night that there was some kind of a holdup relating to a domestic violence allegation by his ex-wife in 2010 and the committee hearing on Shanahan's nomination scheduled for today was postponed.
"Before his divorce, Pat Shanahan's ex-wife was arrested and charged for domestic violence. Shanahan asked for the charges to be dropped for the sake of his family and asks that this remain a private matter," Shanahan's spokesman told Yahoo.
In fact, the family problems ran much deeper than that, and, in a desperate bid to save his nomination, Shanahan has been trying to sell his experience with domestic violence as A PLUS ON HIS RESUME at a time when the military is reeling from a DOD report finding pervasive deficiencies in the handling of domestic abuse by service members. As Shanahan told the Washington Post:
"There's not one size that fits all, I mean, it's a very complicated issue," he said. "It's not as simple as take this training class or apply these resources, or, you know, look for these kinds of symptoms. I mean, it's not that simple. There are all sorts of dimensions, whether it's mental health, or addiction, or stress in the home. It's a very toxic concoction.
"The thing that's probably, like a lot of other issues . . . is having a buddy system of people who really care about you and can intervene. What I've learned is extremely important."
UH HUH. Okay, look. If we were Pat Shanahan, we'd have ... kept our heads down and collected a gazillion DefenseBux every year for all eternity. It's absofuckinglutely reprehensible that he was so thirsty for the Sec Def job that he put his family in the awful position of having this all come out again. BUT HE DID, so here we are.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011, Kimberley Shanahan and William got into "a verbal dispute" over her suspicion that the 17-year-old was in a romantic relationship with a 36-year-old woman, according to a police report.
According to police, just after 1:30 a.m., William "shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall" before grabbing a $400 Nike composite baseball bat "to swing at her head," striking her multiple times.
Shanahan was living in Seattle at the time, so he wasn't there to pick his estranged wife up off the floor and call 911 to deal with her fractured skull, so it fell to the younger child to seek help for his mother.
William, Sarasota police wrote, struck several blows to his mother's head and torso and left her "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."
As William fled the home, situated in an exclusive, barrier-island development called Bird Key just outside Sarasota, he "tossed a bottle of rubbing alcohol" to his younger brother and told him "you clean her up," according to the police report.
What the hell kind of parent puts himself in a position where this story winds up on the front page of the goddamn Washington Post? Who would do this to their children?
Pat Shanahan, that's who! Because, upon finding that his son had violently assaulted his mother, Shanahan sprang into action, immediately flying to Florida and hiding out with the young man in a hotel, neglecting to visit his estranged wife in the hospital and refusing to hand his son over to law enforcement while they drafted a memo characterizing the episode as one of self-defense.
"That document literally was, I sat down with [my son] right away, and being an engineer at an aerospace company, you write down what are all of the mitigating reasons something could have happened. You know, just what's the list of things that could have happened," Shanahan told the Post last night.
At the time, however, Shanahan was entirely clear on what had happened.
"He's a college baseball prospect. He has dreams. He has a future. His father is an executive of Boeing," [defense attorney Derek] Byrd said, according to an audio recording that the court released to The Post. "If he has to sit in jail for 21 days, not only is that going to traumatize him, he's not going to finish the semester, probably get kicked off the baseball team . . . everything is going to be over for him."
Patrick Shanahan also vouched for his son.
"He doesn't believe in violence," he told the judge, "I've never seen him act aggressively toward his brother or any other family members, so it's a shock to me, what has happened."
The judge declined to release William Shanahan, calling pictures of the crime scene "horrendous."
But eventually, the well-connected Shanahan managed to get his son's charge pleaded down to a third-degree felony with the adjudication "withheld." And everything worked out just fine! Two years later, William Shanahan enrolled at University of Washington, where his father happened to be on the board of regents. And some sort of way, the kid's cellphone, which may or may not have contained evidence of sexual assault on a minor, just disappeared.
After the surrender to police, "his father would not talk to me; he wasn't helping," [Officer Kris] Roberts said. "I remember he had a West Coast address, Seattle maybe, and when he left, the son's cellphone was just gone." Roberts said she believes Patrick Shanahan took his son's cellphone back to Seattle with him.
BUT HER GODDAMN EMAILS.
We have questions. Like, how the hell did this not come out until now? And how the hell did Shanahan think this would stay quiet? And what the fuck kind of person would let their family be re-traumatized by letting this all come out again?
We'll have to tell you tomorrow about Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army and all-around nightmare who's being nominated to be the new Temporary Acting Secretary of Defense Until Whatever Skeletons Fall Out of the Closet. Right now we're going to pick our jaws up of the floor and go spend some time with our kids.
HO. LEE. SHIT.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.