Sometimes, when you're a Wall Street billionaire, you have to defend your wife's honor by slugging a racetrack concessions worker in the mouth. Vincent Viola, the billionaire founder of Virtu Financial and Trump's pick for Secretary of the Army, is no exception. From the New York Times:
Viola was accused in August of punching a concessions worker at a high-end racehorse auction in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., according to a police report and local law enforcement officials. [...]
Mr. Viola, 60, a retired Army Ranger who owns the Florida Panthers hockey team, told the police that the man had pushed his wife as she tried to enter a restricted area to get water for a woman who had fainted, the report said. The concessions worker, whose name is redacted from the report, told officers that he did not push Mr. Viola’s wife, according to local law enforcement officials.
The story, which precedes Viola's yet-to-be-scheduled confirmation hearing, could become an obstacle in the billionaire's path into government service – that is, if the Senate can't find the decency to forgive a man whose purest expression of marital bliss involves bloodying a service worker.
“Mr. Viola loves his wife and regrets the incident,” a spokesman for Viola told the NYT, without disputing the fact that his client socked a guy in the mouth a few months ago. If that wasn't clear enough:
A few hours later, the spokesman sent another statement. “Mr. Viola will always stand up and defend his wife, and in this case there was a simple disagreement with the matter being dropped and no charges were filed,” the statement said. “Mr. Viola notified the Transition Team of the disagreement early on in the process and we consider this matter closed.”
If this is the best opposition research Viola's critics can find, he might be in for a relatively painless confirmation process. At least as compared to his Wall Street counterpart slated for the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, who is slated to face a relentless volley of attacks over his role at OneWest Bank. Get ready to hear Sen. Elizabeth Warren say “foreclosure machine” about a thousand times.