It looks like the President put his proverbial foot down with regard to the debacle revolving around Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
The SEAL who went through a trial where he was accused of murderous war crimes was found to be not guilty of murder related offenses, but did get a minor conviction associated with being in a photo with a dead captive.
After that was said and done, the SEALs wanted to give him the boot for discovering text messages admitting he used marijuana before and also allegedly having a live grenade in his garage. President Trump wouldn’t see that a war hero would get disgraced.
President Donald Trump has ordered Defense Secretary Mark Esper to allow Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to keep his Trident pin, a symbol showing one’s service to the SEALs, a day after Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer was pushed out of his position over secret conversations with the White House.
Esper requested Spencer’s resignation after he found out that Spencer attempted to commence a deal with the White House in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
Spencer tried to make an agreement allowing Gallagher to keep his rank and Trident pin if the White House didn’t intervene in proceedings against Gallagher to determine if he can be removed from the SEALs.
Considering that any who are ousted from the SEALs get their Trident removed from their person, it almost seemed enticing. Yet, asking the White House to not intervene in military proceedings is odd seeing that the Commander in Chief resides there.
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Gallagher was innocent of charges related to murdering an Islamic State fighter who was taken prisoner, but he was convicted of unlawfully taking a picture with the dead fighter and was demoted in rank.
Trump recently reinstated his rank after the trial wrapped up. Despite Trump’s order to reinstate Gallagher’s rank, Navy regulations do allow for proceedings to resolve whether he can remain in the SEALs.
According to a statement from the Department of Defense, Esper had lost confidence in Spencer once he learned of the proposed deal. Esper stated:
“Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.”
Esper’s statement continued, noting the clandestine nature about Spencer’s White House conversations:
“Secretary Esper learned that Secretary Spencer had previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and allow him to retire with his Trident pin. When recently asked by Secretary Esper, Secretary Spencer confirmed that despite multiple conversations on the Gallagher matter, Secretary Esper was never informed by Secretary Spencer of his private proposal.”
Esper furthered his opinion on the entire matter and various exchanges, noting that he was “deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official.” The New York Times alleged on the 23rd this month that Spencer had actually threatened to resign from his position if the White House continued to give aid to Gallagher.
The next day, Spencer countered that claim, saying:
“There seem to be rumors out there that I threatened to resign. I have not threatened to resign.”
Trump tweeted early Sunday morning that Gallagher would be on “Fox & Friends,” implying that the outcome of everything revolving around the fiasco would be over soon and conclude accordingly by saying in the tweet:
“Have no fear, all will end well for everyone!”
While Gallagher was on the show, he made mention that the whole proceeding about whether he can stay in the SEALs are about “all about ego and retaliation” from Spencer.
Trump is never one to mince his words, in a tweet last week he stated:
“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning.”
Spencer ultimately did resign from his position within the Navy, claiming that the rationale behind it was related to Trump’s staunch defense of Gallagher during the trial and thereafter, saying:
“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline.
I cannot in good conscious obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag, and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Essentially, Spencer was mad that Trump wasn’t going to allow him to demote or strip Gallagher of his SEAL status because of reefer text messages and an old grenade in the garage.
Trump shared his displeasure with the way the Navy had handled Gallagher’s case, and with Spencer’s management of the department in a series of tweets:
“I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank.”
It didn’t take long for Trump to find a suitable replacement for the former secretary of the Navy in the interim. Trump named retired rear admiral Kenneth Braithwaite, the ambassador to Norway, as the acting secretary of the Navy.