Virtu Founder Viola Becomes First Trump Nominee To Withdraw From Consideration As Army Secretary

Tyler Durden's picture

Many traders' eyeborws were raised one month ago when Donald Trump announced that the billionaire founder of HFT-market maker Virtu, former chairman of the NY Mercantile Exchange and West Point graduate Vincent Viola  would be appointed Secretary of the Army. Even more eyebrows went up overnight when first reported that Viola had become the first Trump nominee to withdraw his nomination to be Secretary of the Army after distancing himself from his business ties proved too difficult, according to two Trump administration officials quoted by Bloomberg. Or, as some aptly put it, Viola nomination was "spoofed".  

The Military Times reported that Viola said in a statement he was "deeply honored" to be nominated but cited his inability to successfully navigate the confirmation process and Defense Department rules concerning family businesses. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was disappointed but understood and respected Viola's decision, a Pentagon statement said. Mattis will recommend to Trump another candidate soon, the statement said.

Bloomberg adds that Viola informed President Donald Trump Friday that he will be unable to accept the nomination because separating from the organizations that he has built over the last 35 years have proven insurmountable. While it is unclear if the withdrawal was prompted by the need for Viola to detail his full financial holdings and ownership stakes in other companies in ethics disclosure, without their filing it is difficult to know what business arrangements tripped him up.

For those familiar with HFT, and market structure, the background of Vicent Viola is well know. For everyone else, here is a quick reminder.

Viola, the son of a truck driver and a homemaker, is a West Point graduate and former Army infantry officer who served in the 101st Airborne Division. In 2003, he founded and helped fund the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.


Viola’s net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He founded Virtu Financial in 2008 and took the electronic market-making firm public in 2015. An earlier attempt at an IPO was shelved in 2014 after Michael Lewis’s “Flash Boys” brought the high-frequency trading firm under attack.


Viola served as chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 2001 to 2004, after starting his career on the Nymex trading floor and working his way up through the organization. He’s also the owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, which updated their jerseys last year with a crest inspired by armed forces insignia in a nod to Florida’s military community and Viola’s Army heritage.

While it is unclear how and why Trump and Viola got close in the first place, according to Bloomberg the two may have forged a connection last year when the plane used by the Florida Panthers was repurposed to fly Trump’s vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence around the country during the campaign, according to a story in the Miami Herald. Viola has an ownership interest in Eastern Airlines, an air charter company based in Miami, that is linked to the old airline of that same name that went broke in 1991, the newspaper reported.

As part of his need to divest of assets that could pose conflict of interest issues, Viola was trying to exchange his stake in Eastern Airlines for a smaller stake in Swift Air, the New York Times reported earlier this week. Swift Air is a charter company with millions of dollars in government subcontracts, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the negotiations who it didn’t name.

Whatever the real reason behind Viola's unexpected withdrawal, at least it allows us to close one open thread, namely whether the arrival of such a prominent pro-HFT lobby member in Trump's administration would lead to an even greater proliferation in high frequency trading parasitism in the market, in line with what JPM hinted earlier.

Even without Viola, the answer is unclear: after all with both Goldman and JPM advising Trump on Wall Street deregulation, it seems inevitable that all the bad habits and reflexes from the last market bubble are about to be carried over, which however is a good thing. As Kyle Bass pointed out last week, if nothing else Trump is an "accelerant", and his mere presence - whether working on Wall Street's behalf or otherwise - will assure that whatever outcome awaits the US will come that much faster, at least sparing the public the pain of having to wait too long to see what happens next.

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SallySnyd's picture

As shown in this article, two Republican Senators are doing what they can to undermine the Trump Presidency and its foreign policy toward Russia:


This would appear to be a breach of at least two U.S. laws

InTylerWeTrust's picture

The war junkie bimbo eruptions, John McCain and his lapdog Lindsay. What a surprise.

FreezeThese's picture
FreezeThese (not verified) yrad Feb 4, 2017 12:55 PM

It's called distancing folks ... and you're gunna see a lot of it as long as the embarrassments continue to be vomited out of this admin, get used to it

Now if we may have a moment of no comments in memory of the Bowling Green massacre

caesium's picture

The guy is a Church goer so it's possible he is concerned about his immortal soul. Hanging around neocons is not as easy as you think.

auricle's picture

Only the MIC appoints this position. He stepped down because he was gotten to. 

auricle's picture

I'm sure he would love to be the first moral man to hold that position.

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) auricle Feb 4, 2017 1:24 PM

Maybe Trump told him that war w/Iran was guaranteed and he wanted no part of it.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

Nah, a bankers preferred weapon of mass destruction is fiat currency.

caconhma's picture

So far, Trump has been a total failure as the US President. Consequently, don't expect too much from Trump to accomplish.

However, Trump will destabilize the US political and social system very substantially, therefore, opening a room for a real leader and patriot instead of this buffoon and his zionist WallStreet Mafia scumbags buddies.

balolalo's picture


to show what a joke his drain the swamp bullshit has been. 

the SWAMP is simply under new management AND GROWING.

Got The Wrong No's picture

Fuck you ass Hole. You are a Moron

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"This would appear to be a breach of at least two U.S. laws"

It appears to border on Treason. Notice how Gabbard goes and collection information, while McCains spews

Kaiser Sousa's picture

so sad...

another Scum St. parasitical Robber Barron didnt want to join the "swamp"....



Katos's picture

It could have something to do with him being caught with democratic operatives like Brazil let, and Raddatz, planning subversion against Trump??

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) Kaiser Sousa Feb 4, 2017 1:15 PM

another totally believable rags-to-riches story/sarc

max2205's picture

Word is he is a left wing plant who just got found out....fuck him 

BritBob's picture

How will Trump deal with the Spanish?


Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena twice tried to disrupt the visit by ballistic missile sub USS Florida as it was approaching the British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of Spain.

According to the 
Sun, the incident has caused outrage among senior officials in Gibraltar with one 'top source' saying: 'This is not only a very dangerous game for the Spanish to play but it is unbecoming of a NATO ally to treat the US Navy with such contempt.'

(Daily Mail 6 May 2016)


Looks like Spain will try and play the Gibraltar card  (A worthless sovereignty claim): Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law:


Gibraltar is an important NATO base.

BarkingCat's picture

Don't you have some small boy to molest instead of spamming us with you crap?

Krungle's picture

Hopefully by giving Gibraltar back to Spain and putting you in the brig on a sub where you'll never be heard from again?

caesium's picture

Trump is about to terminate the EU. If met with resistance he will terminate with extreme prejudice. NATO is safe but some sort of deal will be reached with Russia which might include dumping Eastern Europe in the manner of Yalta. The administration is not interested in Spain but will settle for the destruction of Germany.

flaminratzazz's picture

another swamp creature buddy of trump's

he wants the swamp and all the creatures in the living room

Prior to and following the Gulf War, Viola earned millions of dollars betting on oil prices.


Krungle's picture

So he couldn't disentangle himself from Cosa Nostra, is that the take away? I was hoping this was going to finally be that moment for the Coreleone family where they get legit...

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) Krungle Feb 4, 2017 1:20 PM

La Kosher Nostra- La Cosa Nostra was embellished by Hollywood to be a distraction from the real (((mobsters)))

iAmerican3's picture
iAmerican3 (not verified) King Tut Feb 4, 2017 1:33 PM

Rome's adherents and the false-Jews have been full partners in Organized Crime since long before, together, they crucified God Incarnate on Golgotha and together ran "the Wall Street of slavery" at Rome for over 2,000 years.

Didn't know there've been multiple false-Jew popes? 

iAmerican3's picture
iAmerican3 (not verified) Krungle Feb 4, 2017 1:38 PM

Whether it applies to the highly successful Viola and his "truck driver" father, plenty of Mobsters' kids have gone to West Point and openly get their family's known Mob-owned major businesses to buy full-page ads in the yearbook.

The MIC is under the control of Organized Crime, as is Capitol Hill.

Ever hear of #Pizzagate?

Listen to this Godly woman's eyewitness: the Pentagon flag ranks are filled with blackmailed pedophile homosexuals. Never wondered at Petraeus' adultery? Only those with "sexual issues" and no Honor defile their children and commit adultery.

ThanksIwillHaveAnother's picture

Eastern's L-1011's could auto-land in zero-visibility conditions.   We are so smart now...

pndr4495's picture

Few people have heard the rumor. Word was the name was purchased, no hardware. Surely the hardware, the commercial jets, were bought right - with very little downside loss risk.

Shpedly's picture

You are exactly right. My commercial pilot friends describe themselves now as "systems managers" and not pilots.

youarelost's picture

second not first

dark fiber's picture

I don't care if Trump deregulates Wall Street further, as long as HE BANS BAILOUTS.

Chippewa Partners's picture

Vince the gunner is gone but quote stuffing, flash trading, packet churning, layering, sub-pennying, latency, and dark pool arbitrage, NBBO and Reg NMS exemptions are alive and well under Trump.   The Goldman/Citidel/Virtu etc. show goes on.  We live with it.




slammin_dude's picture

Good, Viola is a piece of shit!

There's picture

He knows guana droppings crazy when he sees it,

onwisconsinbadger's picture

distancing himself from his business ties proved too difficult. WTF ? Drumpf has no problem running his business on the side.

HoserF16's picture

He probably found out that you have to be gay. That's a requirement to be Secretary of the Army. Nuff said.