Nov 28, 2019

Ousted Navy Secretary: Trump has "very little understanding" of military values

Richard Spencer speaking to Congress in 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was fired by President Trump last Sunday, wrote in the Washington Post on Wednesday that the commander-in-chief has "very little understanding of what it means to be in the military."

"This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices."
— Richard Spencer

The big picture: Trump argued that Spencer mishandled Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's case. Gallagher was acquitted on a murder charge in July for the death of an Islamic State militant captive, but a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse in Iraq. Spencer advocatEd for a peer-to-peer review process that could have revoked Gallagher's Trident pin, which designates him as a SEAL.

The bottom line: "The rest is history," Spencer wrote. "We must now move on and learn from what has transpired. The public should know that we have extensive screening procedures in place to assess the health and well-being of our forces. But we must keep fine-tuning those procedures to prevent a case such as this one from happening again."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer hits back at Trump on CBS

Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told CBS News Monday that President Trump’s intervention in a case involving disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sends the message "that you can get away with things."

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

Navy secretary fired over handling of Eddie Gallagher case

Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper asked for Navy secretary Richard Spencer's resignation on Sunday after learning about a private proposal Spencer made to the White House involving disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, a Pentagon spokesperson told the Washington Post.

The big picture: President Trump set off a storm last week when he reversed Gallagher's demotion, which came after he was convicted for posing with the corpse of a dead Islamic State militant in 2017. Trump then tweeted on Thursday that Gallagher should not be removed from the SEALs. According to the Post, Spencer circumvented Esper and privately told the White House that he would ensure Gallagher would be able to retire as a SEAL as long as White House officials did not intervene in the case.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 24, 2019

Trump reportedly stands down in fight for Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher

Edward Gallagher walks out of military court with his wife. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

The Navy has been informed that the White House will not intervene to halt the SEALs from removing Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher from their unit, AP reports.

The backstory: Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and the Navy SEALs' leading admiral Collin Green have threatened to resign or be fired if President Trump stops plans to expel Gallagher, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Go deeperArrowNov 24, 2019