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Donald Trump's pick for Army secretary drops out

05 February 2017

Trump's nominee for Army secretary withdrew from consideration on Friday night citing concerns over family businesses.

"A Pentagon statement said defence secretary James Mattis was "disappointed but understands and respects" Viola's decision", adding that it would make another recommendation soon. Mr. Viola is now the Chairman and CEO of Virtu Financial and is one of the nation's foremost leaders in electronic trading. Viola owns the NHL's Panthers and is a majority shareholder in Virtu Financial and Eastern Air Lines. He said he looked forward to supporting the Army and its veterans "as private citizens".

Earlier this month The New York Times reported that Viola was once accused of punching a concessions worker at a racetrack.

Viola is a graduate of West Point and a veteran in the U.S. Army, trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and serving in the 101st Airborne Division.

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"I appreciate the confidence President Trump showed in me", he said.

The businessman is a 1977 graduate of West Point, the USA military academy, and helped found the Combating Terrorism Centre, a privately funded research wing of the school focused on "counterterrorism policy and strategy" and "ways to confront the dynamic threat environment" facing America today.

Prior to his withdrawal Viola stated, "This great honor comes with great responsibility, and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day". He has a net worth of $2 billion as of Saturday, according to Forbes.