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 Now, another rich guy, financier Philip Bilden Trump’s pick for Navy Secretary, has withdrawn his name due to ethics requirements he realized he will not be able to satisfy: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,
Trump's choice for Navy secretary has withdrawn, as CBS reported he would and Spicer said was totally false. https://t.co/qZ29si1f3m
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 27, 2017
This was in response to Sean Spicer’s vehement denial a week earlier…
Those people would be wrong. Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm. https://t.co/AfRZfQQCzG
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 18, 2017
…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):
News: Am told by two people familiar with the matter that Navy Secretary nominee Philip Bilden is likely to withdraw – cld b this weekend.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) February 18, 2017
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, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.