Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan spoke with The Washington Post on Monday, stating that alleged domestic-violence incidents involving his wife and his son were a “tragedy.” The newspaper reported Shanahan’s wife was arrested after they both claimed to have punched one another in a 2010 incident. In another incident from 2011, Shanahan’s son allegedly hit his mother in the head multiple times with a baseball bat. “Bad things can happen to good families... and this is a tragedy, really,” Shanahan told the newspaper, adding that talking about the alleged incidents publicly would “ruin [his] son’s life.”
Shanahan reportedly wrote a memo after the 2011 incident claiming his son was acting in “self-defense” and had been harassed for “nearly three hours” by his mother before allegedly hitting her with the bat. However, Shanahan, who has withdrawn his nomination to head up the Pentagon, told the Post he was “wrong” to write that memo. “I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified,” he said. “I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat.” Shanahan’s wife reportedly did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.