Trump Will Have to Look for Another Rich White Guy as Navy Secretary Pick Withdraws

Donald Trump is still having trouble staffing his administration and he really needs to stop blaming the Democrats. And this is not his only problem, as the hated press showed what the administration calls “fake news” is actually the real news and that once again the press was right and the White House was wrong.

Earlier this month he lost his nominee for Army Secretary when billionaire Vincent Viola found it impossible to separate himself from his business interests. Now, another rich guy, financier Philip Bilden Trump’s pick for Navy Secretary, has withdrawn his name due to ethics requirements he realized he will not be able to satisfy:

“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.”

Or, as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said of Bilden’s reasons,

“This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.”

To make matters worse, Sean Spicer said this was not going to happen despite reports to the contrary from the hated press. As intrepid Toronto Star fact-checker Daniel Dale tweeted,

This was in response to Sean Spicer’s vehement denial a week earlier…

…Of an even earlier CBS News report by White House correspondent Major Garrett (you see why Trump wants to avoid the White House correspondents dinner):

This is all very embarrassing, which is why the White House let the news out during the Oscars when few would be paying attention. And no wonder: Flynn resigned, Harward declined to be his replacement, Andrew Puzder withdrew from consideration for Labor Secretary…

There is symmetry at least in the recurring theme of Bilden withdrawing his name due to the requirement to separate personal from business interests, something Trump himself refuses to do. We don’t yet know what will happen with Trump’s Air Force Secretary nominee Heather Wilson.

The decision has set twitter a-crowing over Trump’s discomfiture and sent Trump scurrying to find another suitable rich white guy to run the government. People are all too ready to see this as another example of a man who doesn’t want to serve Trump/Putin or to tie himself to a sinking ship, despite the reasons given.

CBS News said Bilden would withdraw. Sean Spicer said CBS News sources were wrong. CBS News sources were right. Bilden’s withdrawal was not fake news, but actual news. Score 1 for the press.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

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