Where Are All the GOP Defense Hawks?

DoD/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

I guess we now have an acting-acting defense secretary:

President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, leaving the Pentagon in transition at a time of escalating tensions with Iran and questions about the role of the military at the border with Mexico….The move leaves the Pentagon leader at a time of escalating tensions with Iran after attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the explosions that damaged the two tankers.

In a Twitter post, the president said the withdrawal was the decision of Mr. Shanahan, who has served for six months as acting defense secretary. But it is the president’s prerogative to withdraw the nomination.

This is nuts. Jim Mattis left at the end of 2018. It’s now been 180 days since he announced his resignation and Trump still has no idea who he wants as his Secretary of Defense. Shanahan was just a convenient stand-in, and his replacement is another convenient stand-in. Are the Republican ranks of defense hawks really so depleted that there’s not a single conservative left who’s suitable to run the Pentagon?

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.