Don’t know what to make of this. This is the story:
Vincent Viola, a billionaire Wall Street trader and President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army, abruptly withdrew his name for the post on Friday night after concluding it would be too difficult to untangle himself from his business ties, two government officials said.
Mr. Viola is an owner of the Florida Panthers hockey club and a majority shareholder in Virtu Financial and Eastern Air Lines, among a number of other business interests. This week The New York Times reported that Mr. Viola had been negotiating to swap his stake in Eastern Air Lines for a stake in Swift Air, an airline with government subcontracts.
A former Pentagon official and close friend said Mr. Viola was devastated over having to withdraw from what he described as a lifelong dream job. But the former official said Mr. Viola felt he was unable to sell his interest in some of his holdings because doing so could have destroyed those companies. His decision followed weeks of negotiations between his lawyers and the government as they sought to find a solution.
Having someone with an actual love of the Army as Secretary of the Army would be great. Historically, however, that has not been the case. I don’t know Viola but his pedigree seemed to me to be picture perfect for bringing pride back to an organization that has been battered and abused by the SJWs that ruled the roost in Obama’s Pentagon.
The real question I have is whether he jumped or he was pushed.
One of the things we think we know is that there has been friction between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the Trump transition, and now White House, people who have been trying to foist hires off on him. (I say “we think” because I just noted that this article, Mattis clashing with Trump transition team over Pentagon staffing, is by Josh Rogin who, of late, has had two scoops proven to be total bullsh**. One of them today.)
But the arrangement started going south only two weeks later when Mattis had to learn from the news media that Trump had selected Vincent Viola, a billionaire Army veteran, to be secretary of the Army, one source close to the transition said.
“Mattis was furious,” said the source. “It made him suspicious of the transition team, and things devolved from there.”
Service secretaries represent potential alternate power centers inside the Defense Department, and Mattis as defense secretary has an interest in having secretaries who are loyal to him and don’t have independent relationships with the White House.
Perhaps the story is correct. Perhaps Viola was simply unable to unwind himself from his business affairs in a way that didn’t harm a lot of investors and employees. Perhaps the Pentagon lawyers had no reason to try all that hard because the SecDef wasn’t all that crazy about the pick to begin with.