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Trump announces new Navy Secretary; says SEAL Gallagher will retire honorably as a SEAL

Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and President Donald Trump (Photos courtesy Andrea Gallagher and the White House)
November 24, 2019

President Trump confirmed the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday, naming a replacement and reiterating that Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will remain a SEAL and retire honorably.

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“I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction,” Trump tweeted.

“Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment. Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin. Admiral and now Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite will be nominated by me to be the new Secretary of the Navy. A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!” he added.

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper requested Spencer’s resignation on Sunday, citing loss of confidence in Spencer after he allegedly threatened to intervene in Gallagher’s case if the White House failed to.

“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 Pentagon statement on Sunday.

“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,” the statement said, adding that Spencer did not inform Esper of the talks with White House officials.

“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official,” Esper said in the statement.  “Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”

Esper also ordered that Gallagher keep his Trident pin — the symbol of membership in the elite SEAL force.

Trump had reinstated Gallagher’s rank and expunged his record on Nov. 15 so Gallagher could retire honorably after he was cleared of charges of murdering an ISIS fighter, and charged with posing for a photo with that ISIS fighter’s corpse – despite 10 other members of Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7 doing so without charge.

Spencer submitted his resignation letter to Esper on Sunday, who sent it to President Trump.

“As Secretary of the Navy, one of the most important responsibilities I have to our people is to maintain good order and discipline throughout the ranks,” Spencer wrote in the resignation letter, which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “I regard this as deadly serious business,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline,” Spencer added.

Spencer had served as Navy Secretary since 2017.