WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Bernard Kerik, President Bush's nominee to head the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn himself from consideration, citing personal reasons.
In a letter released by the White House late Friday night, Kerik said he could not "permit matters personal to me to distract from the focus and progress of the Department of Homeland Security and its crucial endeavors" and therefore could not continue with the confirmation process for secretary of DHS. He apologized for "not having focused on this earlier."
"While I will always consider your confidence in me to be the honor of a lifetime," Kerik wrote, "I am convinced that, for personal reasons, moving forward would not be in the best interests of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security, or the American people."
In an issued statement, the President said he respect Kerik's decision, and wished him and his wife, Hala, well.