On Saturday, NBC News reported that military leaders warned President Donald Trump that Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer may resign if the president continues intervening in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
Gallagher, a Special Warfare Operator and petty officer who fought in Iraq, was one of multiple servicemembers pardoned by Trump of serious war crimes, against the objections of military officials and veterans’ groups. Right-wing politicians, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), have been urging the president to help Gallagher for some time.
Gallagher came under court martial in 2018 on charges including premeditated murder, attempted murder, and aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon on non-combatants. He was accused by fellow SEALs of stabbing a teenage ISIS prisoner with a hunting knife, as well as shooting and firing rockets randomly into areas with no enemy forces, to the point that his fellow SEALs tampered with his sniper rifle to stop him from killing civilians. He was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening to kill or blacklist fellow SEALs who turned him in.
Ultimately, Gallagher was acquitted of most of the major charges after a number of missteps by the prosecution, but he was convicted of taking a photograph with the corpse of the teenage prisoner.
Although Trump pardoned Gallagher of this conviction, the Navy is still reviewing the case and considering expelling him from the service. Trump reacted angrily to this, tweeting that “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. Get back to business!”
Spencer has reportedly informed Trump that this tweet does not constitute an official order and he would have to give written instruction to the Navy to suspend the Trident Review Board of Gallagher.
Image: U.S. Navy photo of Secretary Spencer by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson via Flickr
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