Trump Taps Vincent Viola as Army Secretary

Kayla Pantano (December 19, 2016)
The Italian-American businessman, veteran, and philanthropist becomes the latest addition to Trump’s presidential team.

President-elect Donald J. Trump has picked Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army. Viola is the founder of high frequency trading firm Virtu Financial and owner of the NHL’s Florida Panthers. He also served as the chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange in the early 2000s.

Trump cheered Viola as “a man of outstanding work ethic, integrity, and strategic vision, with an exceptional ability to motivate others.”

“Whether it is his distinguished military service or highly impressive track record in the world of business, Vinnie has proved throughout his life that he knows how to be a leader and deliver major results in the face of any challenge," Trump said in a statement.

Trump continued to say that he is "living proof of the American dream,” as Viola grew up in a family of Italian immigrants in Brooklyn, where his father worked as a truck driver.

Viola is a 1977 United States Military Academy graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army. He trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He also graduated from New York Law School in 1983. 

After the 9/11 attacks, Viola founded and helped fund the creation of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, which researches counterterrorism policy and educates soldiers and government officials on how to confront threats.

Of his many charitable efforts, he endowed the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. Chair in Catholic Theology at Fordham University, where two of his three sons attended. Viola also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Italian American heritage, which has offered their sincerest congratulations.

“On behalf of the Italian American community, the National Italian American Foundation congratulates our Board Member Vinnie Viola on this prestigious appointment. He is a patriotic American who served his country as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer after his graduation from West Point, and then earned a successful reputation in the financial community,” says Joseph V. Del Raso, NIAF Chairman.

“His leadership skills are evident in every cause he has undertaken and America will truly benefit from these talents. His personal commitment to the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point 

is just one example of how Vinnie has shared his success by investing in making America a better and safer place for all of us.”

Viola himself is also extremely optimistic about this opportunity.

“This great honor comes with great responsibility, and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day,” Viola said in a statement. “A primary focus of my leadership will be ensuring that America’s soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict.”