Florida Panthers owner won't become US Army secretary

Viola is a billionaire from New York who owns the Florida Panthers a hockey team

Vincent Viola, the billionaire owner of the Florida Panthers and President Trump's nominee for secretary of the Army, withdrew his nomination Friday night citing difficulties in divesting himself from his businesses, according to multiple reports.

In a statement, Viola, a West Point graduate, said overcoming the ethical conflicts had "proven insurmountable".

Vincent Viola, a billionaire Wall Street broker and the owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, was tapped by Trump in mid-December, but announced in a Friday night statement that his sprawling business interests made the confirmation process almost impossible, according to the Military Times.

Viola wasn't the first American professional sports owner nominated for a position by Trump, as he previously named New York Jets owner Woody Johnson the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

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.




According to the Military Times, Viola found it too hard to disentangle himself from his many businesses in order to take the government position.

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".

Robert Speer is serving as acting Army Secretary, a step up from his previous post as assistant secretary for financial management at the service.

Davis also said Mattis is "confident that Mr. Viola will remain a stalwart supporter of America's soldiers" and will recommend a new nominee soon. He trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He has a net worth of $2 billion as of Saturday, according to Forbes.

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