Trump Confirms Navy Secretary Richard Spencer Fired Over SEAL Case, Says Gallagher 'Was Treated Very Badly'

Hours after the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) revealed that Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer had been asked to resign by Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper on Sunday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to assert that Spencer's firing was due to his alleged poor handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's trial.

Spencer's forced resignation comes after he reportedly threatened to quit when Trump declared that he would stop the Navy from stripping Gallagher of the Trident pin in a tweet on Thursday. Gallagher, a Chief Petty Officer, was found guilty and acquitted of posing with the body of a dead foreign prisoner.

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher," DoD spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman announced in a statement on Sunday.

After the news sparked criticism, with some accusing Trump of undercutting military leadership by intervening in the case, the president defended his administration's decision to oust Spencer in a series of tweets.

"I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's trial was handled by the Navy," Trump explained. "He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie's rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration's contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction."

"Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer's services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment. Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin," he continued, before announcing that "Admiral and now Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite will be nominated by me to be the new Secretary of the Navy."

"A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!" the president concluded.

After Trump made clear that the Navy "will NOT be taking away" Gallagher's Trident Pin on Thursday, Spencer reportedly told the White House that the president could not officially order such a thing by tweet. He then asked the Trump administration to present the president's demand in writing.

In a letter to Trump addressing his departure, Spencer said he and Trump did not see eye to eye over "the key principle of good order and discipline."

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump arrives for a posthumous Presidential Citizens Medal ceremony for Richard Rescorla in the East Room of the White House November 7, 2019, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/Getty
Trump Confirms Navy Secretary Richard Spencer Fired Over SEAL Case, Says Gallagher 'Was Treated Very Badly' | Politics