Donald Trump Running Military to Serve Interests of Fox News Rather Than the Country: CNN National Security Experts

National security experts have said President Donald Trump is making military decisions as Commander-in-Chief based on what he sees on Fox News rather than maintaining "good order and discipline" in the country.

Speaking on The Situation Room, CNN's national security analyst Susan Hennessey criticized Trump's handling of the Edward Gallagher fallout, which ultimately resulted in the forced resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

Fellow CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd suggested that Trump was taking cues from Fox News pundits, rather than consulting his cabinet and official advisers.

Spencer resigned following continuous intervention from Trump in the case of Gallagher, a Navy SEAL chief petty officer who was accused of multiple war crimes in Iraq, including premeditated murder. Gallagher was demoted after being convicted of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter. His rank was then restored by the president. Trump also intervened to prevent the Defense Department from holding a disciplinary hearing which could have seen Gallagher stripped of his SEAL Special Warfare insignia, the Trident pin.

In a scathing opinion piece for The Washington Post, Spencer hit out at Trump's "shocking and unprecedented" intervention, adding he believed the president's interest in the case stemmed from how the "defendant's lawyers and others had worked to keep it front and center in the media."

"It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices," Spencer added.

Discussing the column, Hennessey said it is clear that Trump is not discharging his constitutional powers to serve the interest of the nation, but because of his political interests and "what he sees on Fox and Friends…because he's captivated by a particular narrative."

Hennessey said: "Keep in mind that Gallagher's own men, his fellow sailors, actually turned him in. He's accused of actually threatening them for doing so. These are people who risk their careers because they saw somebody who they believed was doing something wrong, was violating the law.

"People like [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and Spencer need to be concerned about what message this sends to members of the military who want to do the right thing and see other people doing the wrong thing. Is this going to send the message that you should just turn the other way and pretend as though you aren't seeing the kind of serious abuse that Gallagher is accused of?"

Guest host Jim Acosta pointed out that the "front and center in the media" line from Spencer's column was a clear reference to Fox News. "It seems to be yet another glaring example of this sort of symbiotic relationship between the president and his favorite network over at Fox, and how they can affect national security decisions, military justice decisions," he said.

CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd agreed: "It's one thing for Fox analysts to offer their opinions, let's say on Gallagher's case. It is another thing for the president of the United States to make decisions based upon those analysts' opinions and not the opinions of his secretary of the Navy, members of his cabinet, or people that swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. So the fault here to me lies less with Fox News and more with the president."

trump
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, December 26, 2018.