President Trump

Trump and Top Navy Brass Clash Over Gallagher

The growing controversy between President Trump and top Navy brass over the fate of a SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq ended when Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday fired Navy Secretary Richard Spence.

Esper said he had lost confidence in Spencer, and alleged that Spencer proposed a deal with the White House behind his back to resolve the SEAL’s case. Trump has championed the matter of Navy Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive but convicted of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017.


“Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Sunday.

Spencer’s firing was a dramatic turn in the fast-changing and politically charged controversy. At the core was whether or not the Navy would strip Gallagher of his Trident pin, ousting him from the prestigious SEALs after he was demoted from chief petty officer to a 1st class petty officer following his conviction in July.

President Trump this month restored Gallagher’s rank and ordered that the Navy halt its internal review of Gallagher’s actions from 2017 that resulted in a high-profile war crimes case, for which he was found not guilty of the murder of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.

Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke to Trump on Friday with the intention of persuading the president to allow the Trident review board to go forward with its inquiry. Instead, Esper learned that Spencer previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and let him retire with his Trident pin, the Pentagon said. When Esper recently asked, Spencer confirmed that he’d never informed the defense secretary about his private proposal.

Apparently, Spencer asked Trump to let the Navy review board go forward, promising that the board would, in the end, “allow Gallagher to keep his Trident and rank,” effectively alluding to his willingness to fix the results of the board usually comprised of the defendant’s peers, a senior U.S. official told Fox News.

Trump rejected the offer and said, “no, we’re done,” prompting the president to write a series of tweets doubling down on his efforts to halt the review, the official added.

Spencer’s ousting was not a consequence of standing up for military justice – but rather was for dishonesty and undermining the military justice system, the senior U.S. official told Fox News. He was fired for “lack of candor,” the official added.

In announcing Secretary Spence’s firing, by Esper, a Pentagon spokesperson said that Gallagher would keep his Trident. Esper ordered that Gallagher be allowed to keep his Trident pin, noting that it would be nearly impossible for him to get a fair hearing from the military in light of recent events, a senior Pentagon official said.

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13 Comments on this post.
  • ted
    29 November 2019 at 5:01 pm
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    Trump needs to teach the brass who is commander in chief–put them all on swabbing the deck,cooking, or anpther demeaning job for 30 days or demand their resignation..

  • Elisabeth Crowell
    29 November 2019 at 5:01 pm
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    The P:resident is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. End of story -Navy get your act together and obey his orders

  • B. D. Dunn
    29 November 2019 at 5:33 pm
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    Should have been handled by military, that is why the military has the Military Justice System. The president should have stayed out of it and let the Military Justice System do it’s job.

  • John strom
    29 November 2019 at 5:58 pm
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    Kudos to President Trump and to Sec. Defense Mark Esper. The Navy brass, under Barack Obama, took great joy in crushing the moral of our warriors who put their asses in Harm’s way.

    President Trump and Sec. Defense Esper need to get rid of a LOT more of the brass who were put in place by Obama who is an anti-America, Trump hating fraud. Next to be fired should be Rear Admiral Collin P Green who is not a warrior but just another chair polishing elitist.

    SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher EARNED that Trident and it will ALWAYS be his. The idea the Navy would try to steal it from him is an outrage but it’s a part of the Obama plan to destroy our warriors’ Esprit de Corps. Semper fi to Chief Gallagher, to Sec. Defense Esper and a HUGE THANK YOU to President Trump, The GREATEST president since President Abraham Lincoln.

  • Donald J.
    29 November 2019 at 5:58 pm
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    There is a reason the POTUS is the “Commander in Chief”.

  • Radone
    29 November 2019 at 6:03 pm
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    President Trump is The Commander-In-Chief and he has every right to override and make any decision he chooses when it comes to any military personnel. So there should not be any questions about his decision. If it were obummer nothing would be sad.

  • Walt Thatcher
    29 November 2019 at 7:06 pm
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  • Ruth
    29 November 2019 at 7:11 pm
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    Bravo to everyone involved in Spencer’s firing!!!

  • W. L. Totanes
    29 November 2019 at 8:54 pm
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    Gallagher going through a Review Board runs the risk of not getting his trident quals back, worst, it may even reverse the President’s recommended reversal back to his previous rank. Trump was right, Gallagher and his family have gone through enough. Spencer should have just left it as is.

  • Betty Jay
    29 November 2019 at 10:27 pm
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    I am glad to hear that Gallagher will get his trident. Proud of our service men and women.

  • Judith Mclennan
    30 November 2019 at 10:00 pm
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    President Trump HAS THE RIGHT TO DO AS HE SEES IT. Go President Trump.

  • Herman
    1 December 2019 at 6:32 pm
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    As the Commander-In-Chief of the military his way is to be followed. Those Anti-Americans put in place by the last president need to be rooted out. Both in the military and in the administrative positions of many cabinets there needs to be a real cleanup their act action!

  • Granny
    4 December 2019 at 4:49 pm
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    President Trump did the right thing. Gallagher went through hell to earn that trident. He had every right to keep it. Clean out the scum brass that is still attached to Obummer.

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