Secretary of Defense

Trump's nominee for Army secretary drops out

Billionaire businessman is an Army veteran

 

President Donald Trump’s nominee for Army secretary withdrew from consideration for the position on Friday night citing concerns over family businesses.

Vincent Viola, an Army veteran and founder of a stock trading firm, told Military Times that he was “deeply honored” to be in consideration for the position. “I appreciate the confidence President Trump showed in me,” Viola said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was disappointed but understood and respected Viola's decision, a Pentagon statement said. Mattis will recommend to Trump another candidate soon, the statement 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 told Military Times.

The Military Times reported that Viola said in a statement he was "deeply honored" to be nominated but cited his inability to successfully navigate the confirmation process and Defense Department rules concerning family businesses.

Viola was the founder of several businesses, including the electronic trading firm Virtu Financial. He also owns the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and is a past chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A 1977 West Point graduate, Viola trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division. In 2003, he founded and helped fund the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.