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24 Nov, 2019 23:43

Trump taps Ambassador to Norway Braithwaite to replace Navy Sec. fired over Gallagher scandal

Trump taps Ambassador to Norway Braithwaite to replace Navy Sec. fired over Gallagher scandal

Donald Trump has nominated current ambassador to Norway, Ken Braithwaite, as the new head of the Navy, saying that he was “not pleased” with the way fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer handled the SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s case.

In a flurry of tweets on Sunday, the US president confirmed Spencer’s resignation, saying that his “services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

I thank Richard for his service & commitment,” he added. Trump, who was vocally opposed to an internal review which could have seen Gallagher stripped of his Trident pin, tweeted that he “was not pleased” with the Navy’s treatment of the SEAL. Gallagher was court-martialed on seven charges, including shooting at unarmed civilians and stabbing a wounded prisoner during his deployment in Iraq, but was acquitted of six of them in July and found guilty only of posing with a corpse of a slain Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) captive for a photo.

He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank,” Trump wrote.

Also on rt.com Pentagon chief fires US Navy chief over SEAL scandal, says Gallagher to keep his Trident pin

Trump said that Gallagher, who had already announced that he wants to quit once his legal issues are settled, “will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including a Trident pin.

Justifying Spencer’s abrupt departure, Trump said that not only was he dissatisfied with the former Navy secretary’s handling of the Gallagher case, but also with a failure to straighten out contracting procedures and deal with “large cost overruns from past administration’s.

Admiral and ambassador to Norway since February, 2018, Ken Braithwaite will be nominated to fill the vacant place, Trump said, calling him as “a man of great achievement and success.

‘I cannot obey an order that violates the sacred oath’

Shortly after the announcement, Spencer’s resignation letter began circulating on social media. The freshly-sacked Navy chief did not mince his words, launching a broadside at Trump.

Noting that “the rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries,” Spencer wrote that “he cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Spencer, whom Pentagon chief Mark Esper accused of trying to persuade the White House not to interfere in the Gallagher case and of doing so behind his back, said that he had “strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent, from the newest recruit to the flag and general officer level.

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me.”

In a statement carried by the DOD on Sunday, Esper cited the “lack of candor over [Spencer’s] conversations with the White House” as the reason behind his dismissal.

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