Trump’s Air Force pick moves toward confirmation

Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 12:03:16-04

The third time seems to be the charm for President Donald Trump’s military service nominees.

Heather Wilson

After Trump’s picks for Army and Navy secretary both withdrew amid problems with their financial vetting, Air Force secretary nominee Heather Wilson is moving forward with her confirmation.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing for the former New Mexico congresswoman on Thursday, after Wilson submitted her financial paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics.

In her ethics agreement, Wilson pledged to divest from more than a dozen stocks of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Honeywell, Comcast and Verizon. She also said she would resign her as university president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and from the boards of Raven Industries and Peabody Energy.

Wilson’s hearing will be the first for a Pentagon nominee in the Trump administration since James Mattis was confirmed as defense secretary in January.

Trump’s initial picks for Army secretary, Vincent Viola, and Navy Secretary, Philip Bilden, both were business executives who withdrew over issues related to their need to divest from their financial holdings.

Mattis and the White House have clashed over who should be selected for the Pentagon’s senior positions, which are currently filled by acting officials, including some Obama holdovers. Earlier this month, Trump named Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan as his pick for deputy defense secretary.

Wilson was a New Mexico Republican congresswoman from 1998 to 2009, leaving the House after she lost the Republican primary for Senate in 2008. She also ran for Senate in 2012, but was defeated by Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich.

Wilson served as an Air Force officer in Europe during the Cold War, and she was on the National Security Council staff in the George H.W. Bush administration.