Military Challenges: Trump's nominee for navy secretary withdraws candidacy
US President Donald Trump is seeking sharp increases in Defense Department spending and major cuts to other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department.
The president’s top advisers met at the White House this weekend to work on his prime-time address to Congress on Tuesday night, in which he will present preliminary budget outlines.
According to the New York Times, President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department spending and drastic enough cuts to domestic agencies that he can keep his promise to leave Social Security and Medicare alone.
Also this weekend, Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of the navy has withdrawn from consideration for the post, citing concerns about privacy and separating himself from his business interests.
The nominee, Philip Bilden, was an intelligence officer in the army reserve from 1986 to 1996. He relocated to Hong Kong to set up an Asian presence for HarbourVest Partners, a global private equity management firm. He recently retired from HarbourVest Partners after 25 years, as reported in The Guardian.
“This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests,” defense secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement on Sunday. Mattis said that he would make a recommendation for a new nominee in the coming days.
Bilden is the second Trump nominee for a post overseeing the military to withdraw before confirmation.
Earlier this month, Vincent Viola, a West Point graduate and former airborne officer, withdrew from consideration to be secretary of the army. 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.
Also on Sunday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis prepared to submit his first big pitch to his new boss this week: options for accelerating the fight against the Islamic State, as reported in The New York Times.