Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who served under President Obama, has lobbed brutal criticisms at Trump over his decision to inject himself into the ongoing saga of disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, a man who has been accused of carrying out war crimes.
Earlier this month, Trump went out of his way to restore Gallagher’s Chief Petty Officer rank after he was demoted as punishment for posing in a photograph beside the corpse of a teenage ISIS fighter. The move came after he was acquitted of charges that he murdered the soldier, violating the Rules of Engagement which are designed to prevent indiscriminate killing. Trump’s decision flew in the face of the Defense Department’s position, as they believed the demotion was appropriate given the violation. He was also accused of firing sniper rounds at civilians.
The scandal came to a head with the ouster of Trump’s Navy Secretary Richard Spencer by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, reportedly because Spencer was secretly trying to work out a deal to resolve the escalating tensions between the Pentagon and President Trump over Gallagher. Spencer claimed that Trump is unraveling the”key principle of good order and discipline” and that he can no longer in good conscience serve in this administration.
Mabus seems to agree with Spencer’s analysis.
“Well, this just dishonors the military so much, and it causes chaos and confusion. It undermines accountability. It undermines the rule of law. It undermines good order and discipline in the military,” Mabus said to MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson about Trump’s interference.
“For a president to interject himself in the decision of who is qualified to wear a Navy Trident or who is qualified to serve in a military unit that the commander can’t make that decision or in this case that a group of SEALS, five SEALS, would be sitting in judgment on can’t do that just undermines the whole chain of command. It undermines everything that the military has to have to be effective,” Mabus went on, referring to the fact that several SEALS from Gallagher’s unit testified that he stabbed a wounded ISIS captive to death.
Watch the clip below.
Former Navy secretary under Obama says Trump’s interference in the Eddie Gallagher case “dishonors the military so much.” pic.twitter.com/Mv62Jve97T
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 25, 2019