Donald Trump demands loyalty and honesty from his staffers and when he does not get it, he has no problem ending the relationship.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer found that out the hard way when the tried to do an end-around on Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Trump didn’t take kindly to Spencer’s strategy and has just released a statement on the reasons for Spencer’s abrupt termination.
After standing trial and being acquited for alleged war crimes, Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher was demoted and was in danger of losing his SEAL status to a Trident review board after being convicted of the charge of “bringing discredit to the armed forces by posing for photos with the teenage captive’s dead body.”
As the announcement went public that Gallagher was now subject to an independent review by the Navy, President Trump went ballistic.
Trump ordered the Navy to halt the review, to restore Gallagher’s rank, and to leave his Trident alone. Spencer, while publicly supporting the review, was reportedly privately pitching a fixed review to White House officials.
Secretary Spencer allegedly promised that the Trident review board would give Trump the outcome he wanted, meaning rank restored and Trident left in place, if the review was allowed to take place and Gallagher retired.
Neither Trump nor Secretary Esper believed Gallagher would ever receive a fair trial by the Navy, and both were livid that Spencer was privately pitching this deal.
So, Esper demanded and received Spencer’s resignation.
“Lack of candor”
The official reason for Spencer being terminated from his position was for his lack of candor. Esper said “I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official. Unfortunately, as a result, I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”
Trump, not long after the news went public, issued the following statement:
“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. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction. Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment.”
Trump additionally stated that Gallagher would be able to retire with his Trident intact and his rank restored.
This is huge for Gallagher because the loss of rank would have cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of his retirement.