"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," Sanders tweeted.
Shanahan, 56, spent virtually his entire adult life working at Boeing Co., where he helped shepherd the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
He joined the Trump administration as deputy defense secretary in 2017. When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly resigned last year over Syria policy, Shanahan was immediately thrust into the top job.
"I spent the better part of 18 months, if you will, sitting in the right seat of the cockpit with Secretary Mattis in the left seat," Shanahan said in January at his first — and so far only — meeting with the press in the Pentagon briefing room, appropriately using an aircraft metaphor when asked how he was doing in his new job.
"So most of the material, the subject matter and the interactions are with people and subjects that are very, very familiar," he said.
Shanahan brings less government experience to the position than any defense secretary since the department's creation in 1947, with the exception of Neil McElroy, who served on the White House Conference on Education during the Eisenhower administration after a career at Procter & Gamble.
A congressional aide told NPR that Shanahan, during an office visit earlier this year, seemed overwhelmed by his new job of acting secretary.
The White House reached out to others for the top defense post, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, and retired Army Gen. Jack Keane. Both turned it down.
But recently, says a source close to the White House, Trump "got used to [Shanahan]."
Some Pentagon officials have said Shanahan is neither a forceful presence nor well-versed in foreign or defense policy. Shanahan himself suggested as much during his Senate confirmation hearing as deputy defense secretary in 2017.
"I believe my skill set strongly complements that of Secretary Mattis," Shanahan said. "He's a master strategist with deep military and foreign policy experience. ... I bring strong execution skills with a background in technology, development and business management."
As acting secretary, Shanahan has been a contrast to Mattis, who challenged the White House on policy decisions ranging from the use of torture to allowing transgender service members to remain on duty to keeping U.S. troops in Syria.
Trump used to note approvingly that Mattis' nickname was "Mad Dog." But over time their relationship cooled. In a 2018 interview, Trump even said Mattis was "sort of a Democrat."
Shanahan is very much in charge when it comes to program management, such as creation of the Space Force. More complex military issues, like North Korea, Syria and Afghanistan could fall to others, principally Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.
During his time as deputy defense secretary, Shanahan had a hard time finding his footing and needed a lot of direction from Mattis, senior Pentagon aides say. They add that Shanahan was more involved in weapons systems and projects, almost like a project manager rather than a No. 2 Pentagon official who must step back and see the big picture.
At a recent hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the administration's proposed Pentagon budget, Shanahan seemed most comfortable talking about the way ahead for military programs, focusing on how the Pentagon will counter the growing military power of China and Russia.
"China's defense spending approaches that of the United States, when we take into account purchasing power and the portion of our budget going to military pay and benefits," Shanahan told senators.
"That, coupled with China's organized approach to steal foreign technology, has allowed China to modernize its missile, space and cyber capabilities, as well as project power far beyond its borders," he said. "Russia, for its part, continues to compete asymmetrically with the United States, modernizing and developing its own missile, space and cyber capabilities."
Shanahan went on to talk about the need for a space force, a pet project of the president's.
He told senators about the "vulnerability of space" and how the U.S. must be prepared to respond to any kind of attack. And he went on to talk like the engineer he is about the need for "large scale systems engineering" and an "architecture" to make sure the U.S. is dominant in the space realm.
"There will be a double-digit increase," Shanahan said, to Pentagon "investments in both space and cyber, modernization of our nuclear triad and missile defense capabilities."
Pentagon officials familiar with the internal debate say Shanahan clashed with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson — who was also mentioned as a potential defense secretary candidate — over the Space Force, believing she was undermining the plan or was pushing to keep it within the Air Force as opposed to creating a separate military service.
Wilson recently announced her resignation to become president of the University of Texas, El Paso.
One potential hurdle for Shanahan at a Senate confirmation hearing could revolve around his previous job at Boeing and questions about whether as a defense official he was promoting Boeing products over rival Lockheed Martin. Some Republicans on the committee are reportedly concerned about his strong corporate ties.
Trump proposal would evict undocumented immigrants from public housing
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson arrives at the White House to hear President Trump announce a deal with congressional leaders to temporarily reopen the government after a partial shutdown. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The Trump administration is proposing to tighten regulations to prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing federally subsidized housing, a move that low-income housing advocates fear will keep immigrants who are legally entitled to such benefits from receiving help.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday that it plans to strengthen the verification process for public housing beneficiaries.
“We need to make certain our scarce public resources help those who are legally entitled to it,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Given the overwhelming demand for our programs, fairness requires that we devote ourselves to legal residents who have been waiting, some for many years, for access to affordable housing.”
Thanks to @realDonaldTrump's leadership, we are putting America's most vulnerable first. Our nation faces affordable housing challenges and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance. https://t.co/XmASs508Su
Current rules already bar undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing subsidies but allow families of mixed-immigration status to live in public housing as long as one person is eligible. The eligible person could be a child born in the U.S. In addition to citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylum seekers are also eligible for housing assistance.
HUD estimates that approximately 32,000 households receiving federal housing assistance are headed by individuals who are not legal U.S. residents. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that between 22,000 and 25,000 households receiving subsidized housing contain non-eligible family members; the majority of such households are in California, Texas and New York.
Federal housing subsidies are pro-rated to account for only legally eligible residents, said Diane Yentel, president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. As a result, she said, many mixed-status families pay rents that are nearly market rate because they receive lower subsidies than low-income families in which everyone is a U.S. citizen.
Under current regulations, residents in subsidized housing can declare themselves “ineligible” and avoid revealing their immigration status. The Trump administration said it wants to close that “loophole” and eventually evict from public housing anyone who is not a lawful resident.
“This is going to make people much more afraid because they are going to think they will not be able to get a green card or citizenship if they access benefits," said Susan Popkin, a fellow and housing expert at the Urban Institute. “It’s really going to affect people who are legally eligible for housing but who are now afraid to ask for help.”
HUD plans to require housing authorities to expand their use of the Department of Homeland Security’s entitlement verification program to ensure that federal housing assistance is awarded to eligible U.S. citizens and legal residents. Advocates worry that the Trump administration will use the addresses obtained from housing authorities to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally.
Under the proposal, all residents under the age of 62 will be screened through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program. Residents will not be given the option of not participating in the checks.
Families with members who are not lawful U.S. residents may lose their housing assistance after 18 months, according to information provided by HUD.
The proposal came as a surprise to housing authorities as well as many within the agency, including career staff who work directly in public housing policy.
"This is a little bit of a shocker. We are curious as to what is motivating this because it’s not coming from the industry,” said Adrianne Todman, chief executive of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
She said the association, which represents housing development agencies, has yet to receive communications from HUD on the proposed changes and is concerned about how housing authorities would begin to execute potential evictions.
“What makes this proposal seem extraordinarily cruel is that it’s looking backwards into existing families who are paying their rent and doing what they are supposed to do,” Todman said. “I’m not even quite sure how a judge would look at this, because when you evict, you have to have some type of cause.”
Carson, in a Tweet Thursday, credited President Trump’s leadership in “putting America’s most vulnerable first” and linked to a story by The Daily Caller, which first reported the change Wednesday night.
The push came from Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser responsible for crafting much of Trump’s hardline immigration policy. Miller led a White House working group charged with introducing new regulations to strip away benefits from undocumented immigrants, according to a person with direct knowledge who is not authorized to speak on the record.
HUD said it has provided its proposed changes to Congress, which has 15 days to review them before the agency will publish the potential amendments.
“Secretary Carson’s cruel proposal would break up families and destabilize communities, while doing nothing to shorten waiting lists,” said Yentel, of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “HUD falsely claims the change is proposed out of concern for long waiting lists, when they know well that it would do nothing to free up new units. The true purpose may be part of this administration’s effort to instill fear in immigrants throughout the country.”
Damian Paletta contributed to this report.
Tracy JanTracy Jan covers the intersection of race and the economy for The Washington Post. She previously was a national political reporter at the Boston Globe.
Steve Bannon's Populist & White Nationalist Agenda
According to the Washington Post (February 6, 2017), in November 2015, Steve Bannon hosted a satellite radio show on Breitbart News hosting Rep. Ryan Zinke, who opposed President Barack Obama's plan to resettle some Syrian refugees in the United States.
“We need to put a stop on refugees until we can vet,” Zinke said.
Bannon cut him off. “Why even let 'em in?”
Bannon's worldview hinges largely on his belief in American “sovereignty.” Bannon said that countries should protect their citizens and their essence by reducing immigration, legal and illegal, and pulling back from multinational agreements.
At the same time he was concerned that the U.S. And the Judeo-Christian West” were in a war against an expansionist Islamic ideology—but they were losing. Bannon said that this fight was so important, it was worth overlooking differences and rivalries with countries like Russia.
Bannon's Populist Vision of America and the West
In the years before Bannon grabbed the world's attention as President Donald Trump's chief white house strategist, he was developing and articulating a fiery populist vision for remaking the United States and its role in the world. He used various international incarnations of Breitbart: Breitbart Rome—London etc. in which his conservative agenda was served about as a road map for the controversial agenda that roiled Washington D.C., the UK (Brexit), France (Yellow Vests) which has shaken the global order.
Bannon inordinately influence on Trump directed the biggest decisions of Trump's administration helping in Trump's intent on undermining an America centered world that has lasted over 70 years. This sense of turmoil, welcomed by many trump supporters are proof that Trump if following through on Bannon's road map of “today America; tomorrow or later today—the world.”
Bannon's Embrace of World Power
Under Trump, Bannon became one of the most powerful men in America, however, Bannon eschewed the traditional “it's all-about-the-boss” humility of presidential staffers. His source & hero: “Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan, that’s power, he told the Hollywood Reporter in November, embracing the comparisons of himself to those figures.
Destroying the Party of Davos
At root in his public speeches and interview since 2014, Bannon appears to be a schizophrenic Marxist determined to destroy laissez faire capitalism. In his public statements, Bannon espoused a basic idea that Trump would seize as the centerpiece of his campaign. While other saw the world rebounding from the 2008 financial crisis, Bannon just saw it becoming more divided.
“The middle class, the working men and women in the world are just tired of being dictated to by what we call the Party of Davos,” Bannon said in a 2014 speech in a recording obtained by BuzzFeed. Davos is a Swiss ski resort that hosts an annual conclave of wealthy people.
Bannon blamed both major political parties for this system and set out to force his ideas on an unwilling Republican leadership.