Navy Secretary Richard Spencer resigned Sunday at Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s request over a private compromise Spencer proposed to the White House that would have allowed a sailor accused of war crimes to retire as a SEAL rather than being kicked out of the elite force’s ranks, the Pentagon said.
Spencer’s departure marks the latest development in a controversial case that has pitted military leaders against President Donald Trump, whose desire to keep the sailor in the SEALs Spencer criticized in a letter to the president.
Spencer went around the chain of command, by speaking to the White House, bypassing DOD’s Esper. Spencer was proposing to keep Eddie Gallagher a Navy SEAL rather than being kicked out and losing his retirement status.
Spencer kept Esper out of the loop on the proposal, which contradicted the Navy secretary’s public position that a board to potentially kick Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher out of the SEALs should proceed despite Trump’s opposition. But Esper has also ordered that Gallagher remain a SEAL.
A statement from a spokesperson stated that Esper had lost confidence in Spencer regarding a lack of candor in his conversations with the White House regarding Eddie Gallagher. Esper received a letter of resignation from Spencer this evening. The letter made no mention of the private deal and in fact stated that he and the president had differing opinions on “the key principle of good order and discipline.”
This story is at Politico.