On Sunday, November 24, the U.S. Navy chief criticized Donald Trump after being sacked in a dispute over an elite SEAL commando whose president reversed the demotion for misconduct.
Richard Spencer has been ousted as Navy Secretary, a civilian position, in a case that has fuelled U.S. military leadership reports of anger over Trump’s interference in discipline cases.
With regard to the key principles of good order and discipline, I no longer share the same appreciation with the Commander in Chief who named me, Spencer said in a stinging letter published by U.S. press.
I accept my dismissal as Secretary of the Navy of the United States.
The dispute centers on the fate of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who is a high-profile case was charged with war crimes but found guilty of a minor offense.
Trump, the U.S. military commander-in-chief, revoked the demotion handed down to Gallagher on November 15. Trump tweeted on Sunday that the navy had “treated Gallagher very poorly” and ordered Spencer to resign over the issue and his supposed failure to address budget overruns. The president said that the elite SEAL team would not remove Gallagher.
Eddie will retire happily with all the honors he has received, tweeted Trump. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had demanded Spencer’s resignation after losing confidence in him over his lack of candor in meetings with the White House, the Defense Department said in a statement.
Esper said he was deeply disturbed by this behavior.
The U.S. Navy had initiated a disciplinary policy that could have removed Gallagher and three other members of his unit of their coveted “Trident badges”— booting them effectively from the SEAL force.
Yet Trump’s interference seemed to cut the cycle short.
Trump also dismissed this month a second-degree murder conviction against Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, who was six years into a 19-year term for ordering soldiers to fire on a motorcycle in 2012 on three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom died. And he gave clemency to West Point graduate Matt Golsteyn, a former elite member of the U.S. Army Green Berets, accused of premeditated murder in the 2010 shooting death of an alleged Taliban bomb maker.