Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher thanked President Donald Trump for once again intervening on his behalf and preventing the Navy from taking his Trident pin, saying the commander in chief is a “true leader.”
Gallagher responded to the news that Trump has ordered that he be allowed to retire at the end of the month without losing his Trident.
“President Donald Trump, you have my deepest gratitude and thanks,” Gallagher said in a statement to the Washington Examiner for a story published Sunday. “You stepped in numerous times and showed true moral fiber by correcting all the wrongs that were being done to me.”
“You are a true leader and exactly what the military and this nation needs,” he added. “God bless you and your family.”
GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a retired Navy SEAL, was one of Gallagher’s first and most high-profile advocates.
In March, Crenshaw, along with 17 other House Republicans, sent a letter to then-Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, who Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired on Monday, urging him to review Gallagher’s pre-trial confinement, Fox News reported.
“Chief Gallagher is a decorated warfighter who, like all service members, is entitled to the presumption of innocence while awaiting court-martial,” the Republicans wrote in their letter to Spencer.
Among those who signed that letter was Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, the first retired member of the Army Green Beret to win election to the House.
Trump intervened later that month, which led to Gallagher being released from a Navy brig and confined to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in southern California, according to USA Today.
In June, the lead prosecutor in Gallagher’s murder case was removed for alleged misconduct, including spying on the Navy SEAL’s legal defense team and a Navy Times journalist by using digital tracking devices hidden in email.
After Gallagher’s court-martial began in the mid-June, Corey Scott, a SEAL medic, confessed that he, not the accused, was responsible for killing an Islamic State group militant who was being held as a prisoner of war.
In July, a court-martial board found Gallagher not guilty of murder, though he was found guilty of posing in a photo with a dead Islamic State group combatant.
The SEAL was sentenced to reduction in rank to petty officer 1st class from chief petty officer and four months confinement. He was given credit for time served.
In October, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday denied an appeal from Gallagher’s legal team to have his conviction vacated.
The SEAL’s family then made a direct appeal to Trump for a pardon.
The president did not pardon Gallagher, but he did restore his rank and pay.
The Navy then announced it would be reviewing Gallagher’s SEAL status, which prompted Trump to step in again.
He tweeted last last week, “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
Asked if his client’s fight with the Navy is finally over, Gallagher’s defense attorney, Tim Parlatore, told the Examiner, “I hope. I sincerely hope.”
Appearing Sunday on “Fox & Friends,” Gallagher thanked Trump for his consistent support.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve thanked the president. He keeps stepping in and doing the right thing,” he said.
“And I want to let him know the rest of the SEAL community is not about this right now. They all respect the president.”
Gallagher also revealed that he has filed a complaint with the Defense Department’s inspector general with the intent of “exposing all the corruption that’s been going on in my case.”
Trump defended his decision in the Gallagher case, as well as the two pardons he issued for Army soldiers.
Pres. Trump defends his decision to vindicate Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher when asked about the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer: “I have to protect my war fighters…it’s about time” https://t.co/PrktDmtarF pic.twitter.com/SXUL0Dphjj
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 25, 2019
“I have to protect my warfighters,” Trump said. “A lot of warfighters and people in the military have thanked us very much.”
“Somebody has their back, and it’s called the ‘President of the U.S.,'” he added.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.