According to a Sunday statement Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, president Donald Trump’s nominee to be Navy Secretary has withdrawn his name from the list. Philip Bilden himself also released an official statement in which he explained the situation and the reason for doing this. He is the second future head of a military who has decided that it is better to not follow this path, in the recent weeks. Bilden is a private equity fund manager and it seems like his business interests were what kept him from going forward. It appears that Bilden is worried about privacy and his future and who could blame him as leaks continue to flow out of the government.
Philip Bilden withdraws
Jim Mattis’ statement said that Philip Bilden had some trouble in separating himself from some business interests. Also, he was reportedly concerned about his privacy. Mattis ended the statement by saying that he is disappointed that Bilden has decided to withdraw his name from the nominee list, but that he respects any decision. The Pentagon also released another official statement from Philip Bilden himself. In it, he stated that he would not have been able to fully respect the United States ethics rules. His family’s business interests are reportedly vast and it would have been almost impossible to separate them from his job as Navy Secretary. Until recently, he was a senior official at the equity firm HarbourVest Partners for 25 years.
This announcement is rather unexpected because just a week ago, the Pentagon released another statement is which it said that Bilden was still up for the job. This happened after numerous reports were saying that he was about to withdraw. In that statement from February 19, Mattis said that Bilden was “the right leader” for such a job. On Twitter, White House press secretary Sean Spicer also confirmed that he was still in the running and that the reports were false.
Those people would be wrong. Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm. https://t.co/AfRZfQQCzG
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 18, 2017
The second nominee to withdraw
Philip Bilden is the second military nominee to withdraw his name from the list because of financial issues. Earlier this month, billionaire businessman Vincent Viola, the nominee for Army secretary also pulled out from the race. At the time, he also cited as reason for his decision his issues with his financial connections. It is interesting because many other people who president Trump considered for various jobs pulled out from the running.
Philip Bilden was a military intelligence officer from 1986 up to 1996, according to the statement. In the same statement, Jim Mattis stated that he would look for somebody else to recommend for this important position and that he will take a decision soon. Former congressman J. Randy Forbes is reportedly the closest name to become the new Navy secretary nominee.
All in all, it seems like the problems keep on coming for the Trump administration. The situation is still not quiet and nominees for important positions keep on withdrawing. However, do they all really face those financial issues? This repeating motive might get one thinking that there might be something else in there that those people want to avoid working with. Time will tell if this is indeed the case.
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