Trump’s Secretary of Army pick withdraws

Washington, Feb 4 (IANS) US President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, has withdrawn, citing trouble disengaging with his business ties, media reports said on Saturday.

“Viola has informed President Trump that he will be unable to accept his nomination to serve as Secretary of the Army as the challenges of separating Viola from the organisations that he has built over the last thirty-five years have proven insurmountable,” a statement from Viola’s team on Friday said, CNN reported.

“I am deeply honoured to have been considered for this post, and appreciate the confidence President Trump showed in me,” Viola said.

“I offer my continued support for President Trump and his administration, and look forward to re-doubling my efforts to support the Army and its veterans as a private citizen.”

Viola is a billionaire from New York who owns the Florida Panthers, a hockey team.

He graduated from West Point and served in the 101st Airborne, becoming a soldier in the US Army Reserve after his active duty. He founded several companies, including one high-frequency trading firm, where he earned his billions.

Were he to go through the confirmation process, his finances would have been subject to Senate scrutiny and disclosure requirements.

“The Secretary is confident that Viola will remain a stalwart supporter of America’s soldiers,” Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson said. “The Secretary will recommend to the President another candidate soon.”