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Defense Secretary Reportedly Asks Navy Secretary to Resign Over Handling of Eddie Gallagher Case

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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has reportedly asked Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to resign over his handling of the controversial case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.


Gallagher was accused of war crimes, but was acquitted of a murder charge earlier this year and President Donald Trump moved to override his punishment for a lesser conviction and re-instated his rank. According to The Washington Post, Esper said Spencer circumvented him to speak directly with the White House to find a resolution to Gallagher’s current disciplinary proceedings.

“Esper asked for Spencer’s resignation after learning that he had privately proposed to White House officials 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.

Spencer’s private proposal to the White House — which he did not share with Esper over the course of several conversations about the matter — contradicted his public position on the Gallagher case, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.”

“Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position,” the Pentagon chief said. “I wish Richard well.”

A spokesperson for Spencer did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.

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