Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer delivered a scathing rebuke to his Commander-in-Chief Sunday in his letter acknowledging his “termination” Sunday, published by CNN. He was fired by Pentagon Chief Mark Esper.
Spencer was fired after President Donald Trump interfered in the court martial of a SEAL charged with war crimes. Trump pardoned Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, had his demotion revoked and ordered his rank reinstated. When the Navy reportedly was beginning the process to remove Gallagher from the SEALs, Trump again interfered, telling them to stop and “Get back to business!” via Twitter.
The Navy Secretary disagreed with Trump’s interference, and was going to proceed with efforts to remove Gallagher from the SEALs. He said he did not see a tweet as an official order. Some reports say Defense Secretary Esper fired Spencer for trying to work 0ut a deal with the White House without going through Esper.
“The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries,” Spencer wrote. “Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again, from Captain Lawrence’s famous order ‘Don’t Give up the Ship’, to the discipline and determination that propelled our flag to the highest point on Iwo Jima.”
“The Constitution. and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all. Through my Title Ten Authority, I have strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent, from the newest recruit to the Flag and General Officer level.”
“Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond notes the story Trump is tweeting does not align with either Spencer’s or Gallagher’s.
There are now 3 versions of Spencer firing:
TRUMP: Navy treated Gallagher badly + cost overruns
ESPER: Spencer sidestepped DOD, made secret proposal to WH to allow Gallagher to retire w/ Trident pin
SPENCER: Resigned because he couldn’t obey Trump order on Gallagher https://t.co/p72PJ3GZoo
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 24, 2019
You can read Secretary Spencer’s letter in full at CNN.