Ousted Navy Secretary Speaks Out on Eddie Gallagher: We Can’t Send Message ‘You Can Get Away With Things’
Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told CBS Evening News that he believes Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher should have been subjected to a Pentagon review.
“What message does that send to the troops? … that you can get away with this,” Spencer told CBS. “The Trident review process with the senior enlisted reviewing fellow senior enlisted is critical. The senior enlisted of our military are the backbone of our military, they are the girder of good order and discipline. They can handle this.”
CBS NEWS EXCLUSIVE: The fired Navy secretary tells @CBSDavidMartin President Trump’s decision to stop a Pentagon review of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sends a message “that you can get away with things.” Tonight on the #CBSEveningNews at 6:30 p.m. ET. https://t.co/msMGXn3sEv pic.twitter.com/czbr8y7B5S
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 25, 2019
Spencer was fired Sunday evening following a confusing series of events surrounding the disciplinary process for Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder charges earlier this year, and three different explanations for Spencer’s ousting.
Spencer had apparently secretly met with Trump to assure him Gallagher would keep his Trident pin (which recognizes his status as a SEAL) if Trump did not intervene in the case. He did not tell his superior, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who said he lost confidence in Spencer and fired him as a result.
Spencer sent an acknowledgement of termination letter, writing “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took.”
Outgoing Secretary of the Navy Spencer’s acknowledgment-of-termination letter says that he “cannot in good conscience” obey an order he believes “violates the sacred oath“ he took & that he and POTUS disagree on the “key principle of good order and discipline” pic.twitter.com/EZ8YPM7M0L
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 24, 2019
Trump said on Monday that he had been thinking about Spencer leaving for a while.
“We’d been thinking about that for a long time. That didn’t just happen. And I have to protect my war fighters,” he said.
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