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

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