Philip Bilden, who was nominated by the US President Donald Trump as his Navy Secretary, has withdrawn citing disruption in his financial interests, the Pentagon has said.
“Mr Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy,” the US Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, said in a statement after Bilden wrote to him to consider his request to withdraw his nomination as the Navy Secretary.
“This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.
“While I am disappointed, I understand and respect his decision, and know that he will continue to support our nation in other ways,” Mattis said.
“In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military,” Mattis said in a statement late last night.
In a statement, Mattis said he fully supports the President’s agenda and the Defense Secretary’s leadership to modernise and rebuild the US Navy and Marine Corps.
“I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy,” he 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,” Bilden said.
Bilden said he is greatly honoured by Trump’s consideration of him to lead America’s committed and capable Sailors and Marines who defend “our nation’s interests at home and in harm’s way”.
Trump’s Army Secretary nominee Vincent Viola and Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder have also withdrawn from being considered for their positions.