US President Donald Trump’s pick for the Navy secretary, Philip Bilden, withdraws from consideration for the post to become the second Pentagon nominee to refuse a job under the Republican commander-in-chief. Bilden’s Sunday decision was apparently because he knew he would have failed to untangle his financial investments in the vetting process, politico reported.
“Mr. Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement. Earlier this month, billionaire investment banker Vincent Viola also withdrew his nomination for the secretary of US Army, due to complications in regard to potential conflicts of interests during a review by the US Office of Government Ethics.
The Pentagon chief added in his statement that “This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.” “I informed secretary of Defense Mattis with regret that I respectfully withdraw from consideration as nominee for the 76th secretary of the Navy,” he said. He further mentioned the Office of Government Ethics as the reason for his decision.
“I fully support the president’s agenda and the secretary’s leadership to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps, and I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy,” Bilden said. “However, after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”