The financier that President Trump nominated to be secretary of the Navy has decided that the job would be too hard on his finances. Philip Bilden, a former military intelligence officer who spent 20 years working in private equity in Hong Kong, cited conflict-of-interest rules when he withdrew from consideration Sunday, reports Reuters. "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 in a statement.
The Pentagon and Sean Spicer firmly denied reports earlier this month that Bilden was likely to pull out, the New York Times reports. "Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited (sic) to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm," Spicer tweeted on Feb. 18. The AP notes that Bilden's withdrawal is very similar to that of Vincent Viola, Trump's pick for Army secretary. The Wall Street billionaire pulled out on Feb. 3, citing rules concerning family businesses. In a statement, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Bilden had "significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests" and promised to recommend a new Navy candidate within days. (Read more Navy stories.)