Feb 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's former Navy secretary endorses Mike Bloomberg

Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump's former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was fired for his handling of the Eddie Gallagher case, announced Friday that he would endorse Mike Bloomberg for president in 2020.

Why it matters: Spencer is the first Trump political appointee to break with the president and support one of his challengers in the forthcoming presidential election.

  • Spencer reportedly circumvented Defense Secretary Mark Esper and privately told the White House that he would ensure Gallagher, who was convicted for posing with the corpse of a dead Islamic State militant in 2017, would be able to retire as a Navy SEAL as long as White House officials did not intervene in the case.
  • "I cannot in good conscience 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," he wrote in a letter acknowledging his termination in November.

What he's saying: Spencer said that he has the "utmost confidence" in Bloomberg's ability to lead as commander in chief.

  • "He will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Mike will honor the service and ensure the equal treatment of all women and men in uniform. He also will respect the advice of military advisers."
  • "Restoring America’s standing in the world and repairing relationships with our allies will be a top priority in Mike’s administration. And he knows our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our veterans and military families."

Go deeper: Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer hits back at Trump on CBS

Go deeper

Trump-Bloomberg feuding reaches new levels

Mike Bloomberg addresses local leaders in Oakland, California, as part of his focus on states with large numbers of delegates, Jan. 17. Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group.

Maybe it was the eye-popping FEC data about Mike Bloomberg's Q4 spending. Or a rivalry over their Super Bowl ads. Or a change to Democrats' rules that may soon allow Bloomberg to participate in the primary debates.

In any case, President Trump raged overnight on Twitter, primarily going after the height of the 5-foot-8 billionaire who's running as a Democrat. And Bloomberg's campaign shot back, hitting Trump for his weight and hue.

Retired admiral who oversaw bin Laden raid defends outgoing intelligence chief

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire walks to a congressional briefing at the Capitol on Jan. 8 in D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, defended former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday.

What he's saying: "...in this administration, good men and women don’t last long. Joe was dismissed for doing his job: overseeing the dissemination of intelligence to elected officials who needed that information to do their job," McRaven writes.

1,000 veterans denounce Trump for attacking Alexander Vindman

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, before testifying during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on President Trump's impeachment inquiry last November. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Over 1,000 military veterans have signed a letter criticizing President Trump for his "actions and insults" toward Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, which they say show he's "prioritized a personal vendetta over our national security."

Why it matters: Vindman was a key national security official until he was fired this month. He testified at the House impeachment inquiry that Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, which he listened in on, was "improper." Among his criticisms of the Purple Heart recipient, Trump said Vindman was "insubordinate" and had "problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information."