Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer was fired from his position on Sunday by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. He was fired for “lack of candor.”
“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.” Jonathan Hoffman, Pentagon spokesman
Spencer had approached the President with his own private proposal, but did not notify Esper. Therefore Esper “lost trust and confidence.”
The US Navy, as with other military branches is a hierarchy that if you breach it, there are serious consequences. Several Navy brass are already walking on thin ice over defying Trump’s orders — it’s insubordination at the highest level.
Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke to Trump on Friday with the intention of persuading the president to allow the Trident review board to go forward with its inquiry. Instead, Esper learned that Spencer previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and let him retire with his Trident pin, the Pentagon said. When Esper recently asked, Spencer confirmed that he’d never informed the defense secretary about his private proposal.
Spencer asked Trump to let the Navy review board go forward, promising that the board would, in the end, allow Gallagher to keep his Trident and rank, effectively alluding to his willingness to fix the results of the board usually comprised of the defendant’s peers, a senior U.S. official told Fox News. Trump rejected the offer and said, “no, we’re done,” prompting the president to write a series of tweets doubling down on his efforts to halt the review, the official added.
Esper ordered that Gallagher be able to keep his pin, and stated that it would be impossible at this point for him to receive a fair hearing given recent events. No trident review board. Gallagher can retire on November 30, and go home to his family. There are three other SEALs from the same deployment as Gallagher whose pins are up for removal: Lt Jacob Portier, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, and Lt. Thomas MacNeil. Whether or not reviews of those will be able to move forward now is anyone’s guess.
Spencer told multiple media sources that he didn’t view Trump’s tweets on the Gallagher matter as a “formal order.” At least that was his public position. Privately, apparently something else was going on.
A replacement nominee for Richard Spencer will be Kenneth Braithwaite, who is currently the Ambassador to Norway. Braithwaite is a retired rear admiral.
Featured photo via Fox News