Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White resigns amid investigation
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 1/3/2019, 11:46 a.m.
Resignations continue to fly around President Trump’s administration with the latest being one of the few African Americans in his hierarchy.
According to the Washington Post, the Defense Department’s top spokeswoman – Dana White – who had been under investigation since May over whether she mistreated employees, abruptly resigned Monday night within hours of the departure of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. White said on Twitter: “I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by this administration to serve alongside Secretary Mattis, our service members and all the civilians who support them. It has been my honor and privilege. Stay safe and God bless.”
A Defense Department spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed White had resigned from her position as assistant to the Secretary of Defense for public affairs. Charles E. Summers Jr., replaced White, becoming “acting” assistant to the defense secretary, according to the Pentagon. Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive and the No. 2 man at the Pentagon, became acting secretary Monday night, replacing Mattis who resigned after disagreements with President Trump. It is not clear whether White’s departure was related to reports of the probe by the inspector general to determine whether she mistreated staff members or retaliated against them after they raised concerns.
The Pentagon’s media operations office Tuesday did not respond to emailed questions about the status of the investigation. Both current and former Pentagon officials had said at least two complaints were filed against White. The probe focused in part on how staff members carried out personal tasks for her, such as retrieving her dry cleaning, getting her lunch and driving her to work during a snowstorm.
At least five staff members had been abruptly transferred or removed from their jobs since White, a Trump Administration political appointee, took over in April 2017. Others said they had questions about the moves but kept quiet for fear of becoming a target themselves. They spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, citing those concerns. White also sent a farewell message to Defense Department public affairs personnel Monday.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have submitted my letter of resignation to Secretary Mattis. I am grateful to the administration for giving me the opportunity to serve alongside Secretary Mattis, the brave men and women in uniform, and all of the civilians who support them,” the message read.