White House and Pentagon deny reports that Trump’s pick for Navy Secretary is about to back out
The Pentagon and the White House both deny that Pres. Donald Trump’s choice as Secretary of the Navy is about to step down from the nomination.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Twitter that the media outlets are incorrect, writing, “Those people would be wrong. Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm.”
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
The Pentagon released a statement on Sunday saying that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke with Bilden — founder of the private equity firm HarbourVest — Sunday morning and that the businessman intends to take the job.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said that Mattis is “fully committed” to helping Bilden adjust to his new role and the Defense Secretary is “confident that Mr. Bilden is the right leader to rebuild the readiness of our Navy and Marine Corps,” according to the Military Times.
The Breaking Defense blog pointed out that Bilden will have less experience than any Secretary of the Navy since 1980.
“(E)very Navy Secretary for 36 years has had significant prior experience in either government or the defense industry or both: Bilden has none,” wrote Sydney J. Freedberg in January.
Trump’s nominee for national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn stepped down after it came to light that he spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia, then lied about the conversations to Vice Pres. Mike Pence and the public.
Vice Admiral Robert Harward — Trump’s next choice for the job of national security adviser — turned the administration down, calling the job “a sh*t sandwich.”
Gen. Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC on Saturday that Trump can’t find a replacement for Flynn because “nobody wants to ruin their career” by being associated with the Trump administration.