The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Boeing vice president Patrick Shanahan as the next deputy secretary of defense. Shanahan is pictured in 2008 during Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Media Day at a company factory in Everett, Wash. File photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo
July 18 (UPI) -- The Senate voted 92-7 on Tuesday to confirm Patrick Shanahan, the former vice president of Boeing, as deputy secretary of defense.
Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., was absent from the vote for medical reasons. McCain sharply criticized Shanahan for his answers on arming Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists during his confirmation hearings.
"In your questions that were submitted to you, one of the questions was providing the Ukrainians with legal, lethal defense weaponry with which to defend themselves," McCain said.
"Inexplicably, you responded by saying you have to look at the issue. It's not satisfactory, Mr. Shanahan."
Shanahan responded that he supported the idea of arming Ukraine, but said that he could offer no specifics until he had studied classified reports on the issue.
"I, at this point, don't have any specific recommendations. If confirmed, I will spend a significant amount of time dealing with Russia," Shanahan said.
Other senators had also expressed concern over Stranahan's ties to Boeing, a major defense contractor. Shanahan had been with Boeing since 1985 until this month.
Shanahan will replace Robert Work as deputy defense secretary, who has held the post since 2016.