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Trump's Pick for Navy Secretary Withdraws Over Ethics Rules, Finances

by Tim Stelloh and Courtney Kube /

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Financier Philip Bilden dropped his bid to become President Donald Trump's secretary of the Navy on Sunday, citing ethics requirements and the "undue disruption" the job would have caused to his family's private financial interests.

In a statement, Bilden said he couldn't satisfy Office of Government Ethics rules without "materially adverse divestment" of those interests.

He said he "fully support[s]" Trump's agenda and the efforts of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to modernize and rebuild the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Mattis said that while he was disappointed, "I understand and respect his decision, and know that he will continue to support our nation in other ways."

Mattis added in a statement that he would make a new recommendation to Trump shortly.

The news comes nearly a month after Trump's pick for Army secretary, Vincent Viola, a billionaire businessman and West Point graduate who owns the Florida Panthers NHL team, also dropped out. The Military Times reported that the move was partly due to the Defense Department's strict business rules.

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