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Trump’s former Navy secretary now endorsing Bloomberg for president

Then-Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer addresses the crew of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) via the ship's 1MC during a visit to the ship at sea on Oct. 27, 2019 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Angel Thuy Jaskuloski)
February 09, 2020

Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer endorsed Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg during a campaign stop Friday in Norfolk, Virginia.

“I am proud to endorse Mike Bloomberg for President of the United States. I have the utmost confidence that Mike will faithfully execute his duty as Commander-in-Chief,” Spencer said in a statement reported by CNN. Spencer appeared with Bloomberg as the 2020 candidate announced his plan to address economic and health concerns of military families.

Spencer appeared to take veiled digs at Trump as he expressed his support for Bloomberg. He said Bloomberg would “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

President Donald Trump appointed Spencer to serve as Secretary of the Navy, but the Trump administration asked for his resignation in November after Spencer became involved in a review process for U.S. Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

Gallagher was the subject of a high profile war crimes trial. He was cleared of charges that he murdered an ISIS prisoner but convicted and demoted in rank for being pictured, along with other members of his unit, alongside the body of the slain ISIS fighter. Trump ordered Gallagher’s rank restored but the Navy then indicated it would take up a review process to determine whether Gallagher should be allowed to retain his status as a SEAL.

Spencer publicly supported the review process against Gallagher, though the Pentagon indicated a loss of confidence in Spencer amid allegations he secretly spoke to White House officials about allowing Gallagher to retire with his SEAL status intact.

Days after his resignation, Spencer wrote an op-ed in which he criticized Trump as having “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.”

Several Democratic politicians came to Spencer’s defense after he parted ways with the Trump administration and joined the former Navy Secretary in criticizing Trump’s involvement in Gallagher’s case as having undermined the military justice process.

Spencer did admit he jumped the chain of command in talking to White House officials while bypassing Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

“That was, I see in retrospect, a mistake for which I am solely responsible,” Spencer indicated in his November comments.

Still, Spencer suggested Trump had been swayed to take action on Gallagher’s behalf after a concerted media campaign by his defense team in his November comments. Spencer also suggested Trump’s actions had undermined America’s credibility among its allies.

“Restoring America’s standing in the world and repairing relationships with our allies will be a top priority in Mike’s administration,” Spencer said in his latest remarks endorsing Bloomberg.