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.
- Trump was a longtime defender of Gallagher, who is also a Fox News favorite.
- Spencer added in his op-ed: "I came to believe that Trump’s interest in the case stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers and others had worked to keep it front and center in the media."
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."