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Trump nominates Vincent Viola for secretary of the Army

December 20, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Vincent J. Viola. Photo by Omar Vega/Invision/AP

Billionaire Brooklyn Native Tapped to Join Trump’s Cabinet

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Vincent “Vinnie” Viola to be his secretary of the Army. The Brooklyn-born Viola is a retired Army major and graduate of New York Law School and West Point. He is the owner of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange. He also founded Virtu Financial, a large trading firm, and took the company public in 2015.

According to Forbes, Viola is worth $1.8 billion and one of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

On Monday, Trump issued a statement calling Viola “a man of outstanding work ethic, integrity and strategic vision, with an exceptional ability to motivate others.” He added, “The American people, whether civilian or military, should have great confidence that Vinnie Viola has what it takes to keep America safe and oversee issues of concern to our troops in the Army.”

According to The Washington Post, Viola said that, if confirmed, a primary focus of his leadership will be ensuring that soldiers have the means to fight and win conflicts of all kinds. Viola added, “This great honor comes with great responsibility and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day.”

Viola, the son of Italian immigrants, was born and raised in Brooklyn. His father served in the Army during World War II and Viola himself joined the Army at a young age, but later left to attend New York Law School. He ultimately became a trader rather than a lawyer.

In 2013, he bought the Florida Panthers and moved to Florida hoping to retire there. Those plans may have to change.

“Zero effect on us,” Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell told the Associated Press regarding Viola’s nomination. “His ownership still stays with his family. There’ll be no changes in positions, and nothing for the front office or management team.”

The NHL also congratulated Viola in a statement. “”The club has assured us that the day-to-day operations of the Panthers’ franchise will not be affected by this development, and we will certainly work closely with the club to ensure that is the case.”

Viola has received endorsements from across party lines. New York state Sen. Chuck Schumer (Democrat) tweeted that he’s known Viola for more than a decade, “and his dedication to the [U.S. Army] is second to none.” Schumer also tweeted, “Of course, all PEOTUS’ nominees need a thorough investigation and questioning at their Senate hearings, but Mr. Viola is up to the job.”

 

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