Trump fires US navy chief Richard Spencer over SEAL case

File photo: US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Washington Nov 25, 2019, 07.39 AM (IST)

US President Donald Trump declared on Sunday that "Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper" over US Navy's handling of the SEAL case. 

"I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy," Trump said on Twitter adding, "therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment."

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"Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honours that he has earned, including his Trident Pin."

Trump named Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite as his nominee for the Navy chief's post, adding that he is "a man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!"

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Navy's clash with the president boiled over after Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher who was accused of war crimes was found guilty of a lesser offence, Trump intervened in the case to reverse Gallagher's demotion by the Navy, including a possible stripping of the Trident pin. 

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Gallagher was accused in the stabbing to death of a wounded Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017, attempted murder of other civilians and obstruction of justice, although he was acquitted of the charges but was convicted of posing with a dead Islamic State fighter's body in a group picture with other SEALs. There were three other members against whom the Navy had launched investigations.

Meanwhile, US defence secretary Mark Esper said he had asked for Spencer's resignation "after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candour over conversations with the White House," the Department of Defence said in a statement.