The Trump administration fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday for a “lack of candor” in the handling of the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was acquitted of charges earlier this year accusing him of shooting civilians, murdering a captive ISIS terrorist, and threatening Navy SEALs who reported him.
As previously noted by The Daily Wire, “Gallagher ‘was convicted of one charge: bringing discredit to the armed forces by posing for photos with the teenage captive’s dead body,’ The New York Times reported. ‘Last Friday, Mr. Trump reversed that demotion, angering Navy officials, including the commander of the SEALs, Rear Adm. Collin Green, who had little choice but to accept the reversal. Nonetheless, they continued with their plans to eject Chief Gallagher from the unit.'”
The Times reported that Spencer had threatened to resign over the order from the commander-in-chief, however, Spencer denied that claim in a tweet, writing: “I would like to further state that in no way, shape, or form did I ever threaten to resign. That has been incorrectly reported in the press. I serve at the pleasure of the President.”
Spencer went around the back of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper in privately talking to White House officials, proposing “that if they did not interfere with proceedings against Gallagher, then Spencer would ensure that Gallagher was able to retire as a Navy SEAL, with his Trident insignia,” The Washington Post reported.
Spencer’s actions led to Esper demanding his resignation on Sunday, which was promptly received.
The U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement: “After Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley spoke with the Commander in Chief on Friday regarding the case of Gallagher, Secretary Esper learned that Secretary Spencer had previously and privately proposed to the White House — contrary to Spencer’s public position — to restore Gallagher’s rank and allow him to retire with his Trident pin. When recently asked by Secretary Esper, Secretary Spencer confirmed that despite multiple conversations on the Gallagher matter, Secretary Esper was never informed by Secretary Spencer of his private proposal.”
“Secretary Esper’s position with regard to UCMJ, disciplinary, and fitness for duty actions has always been that the process should be allowed to play itself out objectively and deliberately, in fairness to all parties,” the statement continued. “However, at this point, given the events of the last few days, Secretary Esper has directed that Gallagher retain his Trident pin. Secretary Esper will meet with Navy Under Secretary (now Acting Secretary) Thomas Modley and the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday on Monday morning to discuss the way ahead.”
The statement concluded, “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.”
In a statement, Esper said, “I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official. Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”
Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin wrote on Twitter: “In the end Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was not fired for standing up for military justice but for dishonesty and undermining the military justice system, according to a senior US official. He was fired for ‘lack of candor.'”
In the end Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was not fired for standing up for military justice but for dishonesty and undermining the military justice system, according to a senior US official. He was fired for “lack of candor.”
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 24, 2019