On Sunday, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden, withdrew himself from consideration citing complications due to business interests. Both Bilden and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis released statements about the withdrawal.
“I fully support the President’s agenda and the [Secretary of Defense James Mattis’] leadership to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps, and I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy,” Bilden said in a statement.
“However, 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 continued.
Mattis confirmed Bilden’s comments in a statement and added that the would recommend a new nominee for Navy Secretary in the coming days.
“Mr. Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy,” Mattis said in a statement. “This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.”
Trump nominated Bilden to lead the Navy back in January shortly after becoming President.
“As secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden will apply his terrific judgement and top-notch management skills to the task of rebuilding our unparalleled Navy,” the President said. “Our number of ships is at the lowest point that it has been in decades. Philip Bilden is the right choice to help us expand and modernize our fleet, including surface ships, submarines and aircraft, and ensure America’s naval supremacy for decades to come. I am proud of the men and women of our armed forces. The people who serve in our military are our American heroes, and we honor their service every day.”
Bilden had said that he was “deeply humbled and honored” to be the President’s pick.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve as secretary of the Navy,” Bilden said back in January. “Maintaining the strength, readiness, and capabilities of our maritime force is critical to our national security. If confirmed, I will ensure that our sailors and Marines have the resources they need to defend our interests around the globe and support our allies with commitment and capability.”
Bilden graduated from Georgetown University as a Distinguished Military Graduate, U.S. Army ROTC, and earned the President’s Cup as the top graduate in the corps. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; the Asia Pacific Advisory Board and Dean’s Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School; the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation; and serves as the inaugural Chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies at the Naval War College Foundation where is he on the Board of Trustees. Bilden has also spent three decades working for an investment management firm he co-founded.