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Donald Trump’s nominee for US Navy secretary has withdrawn due to concerns about the financial impact of divestments entailed by the position’s ethics requirements.
Nominee Philip Bilden said in a statement published on Monday he had informed defence secretary Jim Mattis of his withdrawal from consideration for the position.
In his announcement of the withdrawal, Mr Bilden said he said he would continue to support the efforts of Mr Trump and Mr Mattis to modernise and rebuild the Navy and Marine Corps from “outside of the Department of the Navy.”
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.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer had previously denied reports that Mr Trump’s nominee was likely to withdraw, tweeting on February 19 that Mr Bilden was “100% commited [sic] to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm.”
Mr Bilden served as a military intelligence officer in the US Army Reserve for ten years. He started work at HarbourVest Partners, a private equity firm, in 1991 and moved to Hong Kong in 1996 to establish a subsidiary there for the company. He retired in 2016.
The withdrawal of Mr Bilden’s nomination follows that of would-be labour secretary Andrew Puzder, head of CKE and longtime campaigner against efforts to raise the minimum wage and greater government regulation of business.