Vince Viola who was tapped by Trump to serve as Army Secretary has taken his name out of consideration. Viola cited a conflict with his business that couldn’t be avoided.
Viola, one of Trump’s earliest nominees, accepted Trump’s offer to run his former service more than a month before the presidential inauguration. He made his fortune after founding Virtu Financial, a high-frequency trading firm, and went on to purchase the Florida Panthers hockey team. That background proved complicated to untangle to meet the Pentagon’s conflict of interest requirements.
“I appreciate the confidence President Trump showed in me,” Viola said in a statement released to Military Times. “I offer my continued support for President Trump and his administration, and look forward to redoubling my efforts to support the Army and its veterans as private citizens.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is disappointed, but “understands and respects Mr. Viola’s decision,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. Mattis is “confident that Mr. Viola will remain a stalwart supporter of America’s soldiers” and will recommend another nominee to Trump soon, Davis said.
Viola was a great pick. He was a West Point grad and Army Veteran. Also a businessman that understands how complex organizations run, he may have been Trump’s best pure pick.
It’s a tough loss but thr Trump Administration will find an adequate replacement.