The Pentagon on Sunday joined the White House in disputing reports that President Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps is planning to drop out.
If businessman Philip Bilden was preparing to withdraw from consideration, as CBS News reported Saturday, it appears Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was influential in making him reconsider. Bilden, a former military intelligence officer, remains “fully committed” to serving as Trump’s Navy secretary, pending Senate confirmation, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman said.
Mattis, who is traveling overseas, spoke with Bilden early Sunday, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.
“Secretary Mattis remains fully committed to helping him … [and] confident that Mr. Bilden is the right leader to rebuild the readiness of our Navy and Marine Corps,” Davis added.
Attempts to contact Bilden were not immediately successful.
Bilden spent 10 years in the Army Reserve, from 1986 to 1996, before launching a successful venture capital firm in Hong Kong. He’s also a board member for separate foundations associated with the U.S. Naval War College and the U.S. Naval Academy, where his sons have attended school.