A little more than a year ago, moments after he fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet, President Donald Trump looked ahead optimistically to reshaping his Cabinet.
Standing on the White House driveway, the president told reporters, “I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Instead, Trump has a Cabinet by default, with many of its members simply being the last person standing after others pulled out of the running, declined the president’s offers or couldn’t get through their confirmation hearings.
In just the latest example of a Trump official going down amid the harsh glare of an invigorated Washington press corps, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan withdrew from consideration for the top Pentagon job on Tuesday as news outlets published lurid details of his divorce.
Shanahan was never even formally nominated by the White House, but at least he managed to serve in his post for six months.