Both Bilden’s and Mattis’ statements said Bilden’s business interests created complications. He recently retired from a private equity investment management firm, according to a White House statement.
“After an extensive review process,” Bilden said, “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.”
Mattis said: “This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.”
Mattis said he’d recommend another nominee to Trump in the coming days.
A week ago, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer countered a report by Major Garrett of CBS News that two sources had told him Bilden was likely to withdraw from consideration for the Navy job.
Spicer tweeted on February 18: “Those people would be wrong. Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm.”
The White House nominated Bilden on January 25.
A White House statement said he recently retired as a co-founding member and at HarbourVest Partners LLC, “a global private equity investment management firm with institutional assets under management currently in excess of $42 billion.” He’d been with the firm 25 years, the statement said.
Bilden served in the US Army Reserve as a military intelligence officer from 1986-1996, the statement said.
By Ralph Ellis