Ousted Navy secretary slams Trump for intervening in Gallagher case

Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer is speaking out after being ousted from his position, and it is clear that he remains bitter about his exit, even as he admits to the wrongdoing that led to his dismissal.

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Spencer had some harsh words for President Donald Trump regarding the commander in chief’s involvement in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, accusing him of not understanding the essence of a “warfighter” and of undermining good order and discipline in the military.

Spencer speaks out

Gallagher is a SEAL who had been charged with murdering an ISIS captive along with committing other war crimes, and though he was ultimately acquitted of the most serious allegations he was nevertheless convicted of posing for a photo with the deceased person’s corpse and was demoted in rank as punishment.

President Trump interceded on Gallagher’s behalf and ordered his rank restored, only to later learn that Spencer had proceeded with an administrative review of Gallagher’s case that could have resulted in the SEAL being stripped of his trident pin just prior to his retirement.

Trump again intervened and declared in a tweet that “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” a move which led to media rumors that Spencer had threatened to resign in protest.

Bitter departure

That resignation didn’t happen, however, because Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired Spencer over the weekend before he even had a chance to quit.

Esper cited a loss of “trust and confidence in [Spencer] regarding his lack of candor” about a secretive deal he proposed to the White House — behind Esper’s back, and which was rejected by the White House — in which Spencer would guarantee that Gallagher would keep his trident pin and retire as a SEAL if Trump refrained from further involvement in the matter.

Spencer admitted to CBS that he had done wrong but claimed his actions were intended to protect order and discipline in the Navy, things he essentially accused Trump of undermining, both in the interview with CBS and in his scathing resignation letter that was released to the media.

As for Trump’s tweet about “Warfighter” Gallagher, Spencer told CBS that he didn’t think the president “really understands the full definition of a warfighter.” He added, “A warfighter is a profession of arms and a profession of arms has standards that they have to be held to, and they hold themselves to.”

Gallagher: Trump a “true leader”

CBS noted that the Navy announced on Monday that the administrative review of Gallagher’s case had been canceled, and that he would be allowed to retire with his trident pin and SEAL status intact, which is exactly what President Trump, as commander in chief, had every right to order.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that Trump has already nominated retired Navy Rear Admiral Ken Braithwaite, currently serving as U.S. ambassador to Norway, as Spencer’s replacement.

As for Gallagher, he has since expressed his tremendous gratitude and appreciation for President Trump as a “true leader” who is “exactly what the military and this nation needs.”

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