June 18, 2019 / 6:40 PM / in 4 months

McConnell would prefer confirmed defense secretary given Iran tensions

FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks off the Senate floor after making comments about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the 2016 election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday it would be better to have a Senate-confirmed defense secretary than someone serving in just an acting capacity given tensions between the United States and Iran.

McConnell made the comment to reporters shortly after Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, withdrew from consideration to be the permanent defense chief.

Reporting by Amanda Becker; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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