President Trump negated a decision by the Navy to remove Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher from the Navy SEALs, less than a week after the president pardoned Gallagher and two other military officers of war crime charges or convictions, according to the New York Times. If you’ll recall, Gallagher was acquitted last July of first-degree murder of an ISIS captive and attempted murder of civilians in Iraq and was then convicted of posing in a photo with the dead body of a captive.
The Navy subsequently notified Gallagher on Wednesday that it intended to remove him from the SEALs, a move that had been cleared by some White House officials before President Trump intervened. Navy officials told the Times that while they obviously disagreed with the president’s decision, they were not totally surprised by it and intended to comply. I should hope so.
From The New York Times:
“The commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Adm. Collin Green, discussed the matter with Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and the chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, and the Navy briefed Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“In the hours before the letters were issued, two Navy officials said, the Navy reached out to the White House for clearance multiple times.
“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” the president wrote on Twitter. “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”‘
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
“Last week, President Trump pardoned Gallagher, Maj. Matthew Gostelyn of the Army Special Forces, and Army First Lt. Clint Lorance.
“Lorance was convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder for ordering his men to fire on two unarmed Afghans who were speeding toward his platoon on a motorcycle. Before his pardon, he was serving a 19-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
“Gostelyn was facing a premeditated murder charge for the 2010 killing of a suspected bomb maker in Afghanistan and was awaiting trial at the time of his pardon.
“Gallagher had already served more than the four-month sentence he received for his conviction, and therefore did not serve any prison time after his trial. President Trump also reversed a military jury demotion and restored Gallagher to the rank of chief.”
Trump vetoed the removal of Gallagher over Twitter. After Gallagher’s acquittal, Trump reversed the decision of the court to drop Gallagher in rank for posing for an inappropriate photo. The Navy continued to go after him and decided to review his status as a SEAL and called him to appear before a review board. An “anonymous source” informed NBC News of the internal revolt against the president’s decision.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, would issue an order Wednesday directing that a Trident review board be convened to determine whether to withdraw the emblem from Gallagher. He also called for a peer-review of three SEAL officers who oversaw Gallagher during his deployment to Iraq in 2017: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Lt. Jacob Portier and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The officials disputed that the reviews are in retaliation for the president´s actions. Trump put a stop to that as he should have. He is, after all, the Commander-in-Chief and Green could find himself ‘fired’ for insubordination if he disobeys a direct order from Trump.
The Trident Pin, which is worn by Navy SEALs, is awarded following their completion of an intense qualification course and symbolizes membership of the elite military community. Gallagher was acquitted and should not be prosecuted or persecuted further. Thank goodness he has Trump in his corner.