Trump’s Pick for U.S. Navy Secretary Withdraws

170223-N-BL637-037 SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 23, 2017) An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 makes an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The ship and its carrier strike group is on a western Pacific deployment as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of U.S. 3rd Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 makes an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the South China Sea, February 23, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo

ReutersWASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Navy withdrew from consideration on Sunday, the second time a Trump nominee to lead one of the armed services bowed out because of government conflict-of-interest rules.

Trump last month nominated Philip Bilden, a private equity executive and former military intelligence officer, to lead the Navy, which the president has pledged he will expand.

In a statement on Sunday, Bilden said that “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.”

The development leaves Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis without nominees to head both the Navy and Army.

Vincent Viola, whom the president had picked to be secretary of the Army, withdrew earlier this month.

In a statement, Mattis said he was disappointed but understood Bilden’s decision. “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,” he said.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by Peter Cooney)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.