President Trump’s Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said that “The Navy will not be taking Gallagher’s Trident pin” – the symbol of his status as an elite Navy SEAL.
Spencer said he needed to see an order in writing from the president before stopping Gallagher’s appearance before a review board that could have kicked him out of the elite unit. “If the president requests to stop the process, the process stops,” Spencer said.
But Spencer’s resignation letter made it sound like he was fired before he could embarrass the president by resigning on principle. He wrote: “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took.”
For his part, President Trump tweeted he was “not pleased” with the way the Navy handled the Gallagher case, and with Spencer’s inability to manage cost overruns on big ticket items like a new aircraft carrier.
That capped a day in which Gallagher appeared on Fox News and made openly insubordinate statements about his superior officers: “This is all about ego and retaliation. This has nothing to do with good order and discipline,” he said.
It didn’t end well for Spencer, but it did for Gallagher. Secretary Esper has directed that Gallagher be allowed to keep his Trident. And in a statement to Fox News last night, Gallagher thanked the president for stepping in multiple times and “correcting all the wrongs” done to him.