WASHINGTON, May 9, 2019 — Patrick Shanahan, the ex-Boeing VP who has led the Defense Department since late last year, may soon see his “acting” career come to an end.
Shanahan, 56, will soon be nominated for Senate confirmation as the 27th Secretary of Defense, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Thursday.
“Based upon his outstanding service to the Country and his demonstrated ability to lead, President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to be the Secretary of Defense,” Sanders said in a statement.
“Acting Secretary Shanahan has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense, and he will continue to do an excellent job.”
Trump previously tapped the former Boeing executive to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense under the 26th person to hold that position, retired Marine General James Mattis.
Shanahan was made Acting Secretary of Defense in December 2018, after Mattis resigned following President Trump’s decision to accede to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request that he pull US troops out of Syria. Before joining the Defense Department, he spent 30 years at Boeing, rising to the position of senior vice president for supply chain and operations.
Trump Fires Secret Service Director, Names Career Official As Replacement
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2019 — Less than 24 hours after he announced the firing of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump has fired the head of the agency charged with protecting him and his family.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday announced that Secret Service Director Randolph Alles would leave the agency “shortly” and be replaced by James M. Murray, a career official whose prior positions include service as the Special Agent in Charge at the agency’s Washington Field Office.
“United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country,” Sanders said in a statement. Mr. Alles will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May.”
Alles, who retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Major General, had been tapped by Trump to lead the Secret Service only four months after he’d been confirmed as Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.
His ouster comes in the midst of what one administration official told CNN was a “near-systematic purge happening at the nation’s second-largest national security agency.”
According to author Ronald Kessler, Alles clashed with administration officials last year when he proposed withdrawing Secret Service protection from some of President Trump’s family members and advisors unless they’d received threats.
US Ambassador to Israel Picked Pastor Who Said Jews Will Go To Hell As Embassy Speaker
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 — David Friedman, the United States’ Ambassador to Israel, personally selected controversial pastor Rev. Robert Jeffress to deliver a prayer at a ceremony marking the American embassy’s move to Jerusalem, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
“We would certainly not agree with the pastor’s remarks, some of his controversial remarks that he has made about various religious groups,” Nauert said during the State Department’s daily press briefing. “But he was chosen by Ambassador Friedman, who was certainly welcome to do so, and made that decision.”
Jeffress, an evangelical pastor who serves on President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board, has had a long history of making disparaging remarks about faiths other than his own.
During a 2008 sermon, he declared that adhering to Islam, Judaism and Hinduism — as well as membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church — will “lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell.”
He later added that the aforementioned “hell” would be “filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters he did not know how Jeffress came to speak at the opening of the Jerusalem embassy despite his past remarks about Judaism, but explained Jeffress’ presence by telling reporters that the pastor has “a strong relationship with many in the faith community” as well as members of the administration and members of Congress, but that his remarks were not representative of the president’s views.
Embassies have discretion as to guest speakers at public events
Nauert explained that American embassies have wide latitude as to speakers they might invite, citing the example of Dr. Arie Kruglanski, a University of Maryland scholar who spoke at the American embassy in Berlin last month despite her having made remarks critical of President Trump.
“Embassies certainly have their free will sometimes to make decisions about who they want to bring in as guest lecturers or people to lead a ceremony or some sort of a celebration,” she said, but denied that she was making a direct comparison.
“I’m just saying that embassies and people around the world bring in lots and lots of people who have various opinions,” Nauert said.
Two Pastors With Histories Of Anti-Semitic Statements Spoke At The Jerusalem Embassy Opening, A White House Spokesman Had No Idea How They Got There
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2018 — White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters Monday that he did not know how evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress was among those selected to speak at the opening of the United States’ new embassy in Jerusalem despite his past derogatory statements about Judaism and other major religions.
“I honestly don’t know how that came to be,” Shah said when asked how Jeffress, who said in 2010 that following Judaism, Hinduism and Islam — as well as membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — can “lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell,” was selected to deliver an invocation at a ceremony officially marking the embassy’s move from the Tel Aviv facility that has now switched places with what was a US consulate in Jerusalem.
“I know that Pastor Jeffress has had a strong relationship with many in the faith community as well as folks in the administration and Republicans on the Hill, and others — as well as Democrats as well,” Shah explained. “I believe he has a longstanding involvement with public officials, beyond that I don’t really have a whole lot to add.”
Jeffress, currently pastor of First Baptist Church, a Dallas-based megachurch, is one of President Donald Trump’s closest evangelical advisers. He often speaks of Jerusalem’s significance to conservative Christians, which make up a significant component of Trump’s base of supporters.
In addition to his aforementioned 2010 remarks, Jeffress also called the Catholic Church “an instrument of Satan” that same year and referred to the LDS Church as “a cult” the next year.
He extended his predictions of eternal damnation to include political beliefs during the 2016 election, when during an appearance on Fox News, Jeffress told Fox News analyst Juan Williams that backing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) for president would send him to the lowest depths of hell,
Pressed further on whether Jeffress remarks about Jews made him an appropriate person to speak at an embassy opening in a country founded as a homeland for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, Shah replied that he hadn’t seen the remarks but they were “obviously…not remarks that the president believes.”
Jeffress wasn’t the only controversial pastor at the ceremony
Later on, Shah was asked how another controversial pastor — Christians United for Israel founder Rev. John Hagee — ended up giving a closing benediction at the Jerusalem ceremony.
Hagee is perhaps most infamous for remarks made during the 2008 election in which he suggested Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was an instrument of God because the Holocaust persuaded many Jews to move to what became Israel after World War II.
Shah reiterated that he had no information to offer but stressed that such views “wouldn’t be embraced by the White House.”
A State Department official told BeltwayBreakfast that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman consulted with “many faith leaders” when planning for today’s ceremony, but would not say whether anyone from Foggy Bottom had played any role in Jeffress’ selection or done any vetting of the controversial pastor.
“Jerusalem is a holy city for millions of people around the world,” the official said, “and we sought to reflect that in this event.”