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Ousted Navy Secretary Pens Final Letter to Trump

Richard Spencer says he and president disagree on 'good order and discipline'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2019 10:25 AM CST
A file photo of former Navy chief Richard Spencer.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Newly fired Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer is telling his side of the story in a final letter to President Trump. Spencer writes that he could not in "good conscience obey" Trump's order to back off on any further discipline of a Navy SEAL who'd been accused of war crimes but acquitted of all charges except posing with the corpse of a militant. "The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries," wrote Spencer in his letter, which can be read in full at USA Today. "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 regards to the key principle of good order and discipline."

Trump, for his part, tweeted Sunday that Spencer was fired in part because Gallagher was "treated very badly" by the Navy, and he also accused Spencer of not fixing "large cost overruns" inherited from the previous administration. The president wanted the Navy to scrap a post-trial review of Gallagher's case that could have resulted in his expulsion from the SEALs. Spencer says following Trump's order would have violated his "sacred oath" to uphold the Constitution. As for Gallagher, the AP reports that it appears he will now retire at the end of the month with his full SEAL status, effectively giving Trump the outcome he wanted. (Read more about Gallagher's case.)

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