Pentagon chief Mark Esper told reporters on Monday that he was ordered by President Donald Trump to allow Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to keep his Trident pin and remain a Navy SEAL following a conviction, adding that he asked for Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencers resignation over a different matter.
“The case of Eddie Gallagher has dragged on for months and has distracted too many. It must end,” Esper told CNN on Monday. “Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident as the Commander-in-Chief directed and will retire at the end of this month.”
On Sunday, the president gave Esper “an order” allowing Gallagher to keep his Trident pin. He was convicted earlier this year of bringing discredit to the armed services after posing with a slain ISIS terrorists body and was demoted for that offense. Last week, Trump reversed his demotion.
That night, Spencer was fired by Esper, who said he had lost “trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor” when he found out that Spencer was secretly communicating with the White House, according to reports. Esper said he was “deeply troubled” by Spencers conduct, adding that “unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position.”
Esper on Monday said Spencers termination wasnt about Gallagher specifically.
“Contrary to the narrative that some want to put forward in the media, this dismissal is not about Eddie Gallagher, its about Secretary Spencer and the chain of command,” Esper told reporters on Monday.