Mabus: Trump snubbed commanders, ‘took military advice from Fox News’

0
2

www.defense.govFormer Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus
Ray Mabus, the longest serving U.S. Navy secretary in the post-World War I period and former Mississippi governor, says President Donald Trump acted inappropriately in getting involved with a Navy SEAL’s court-martial.
In a tweet last week, Trump ordered the Pentagon not to remove a Navy SEAL at the center of a high-profile war crimes case. Top Navy officials wanted to oust Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was convicted in a court-martial trial of posing for photographs with the body of a teenage Islamic State captive in American custody.
“The president completely inappropriately inserted himself into this process,” Mabus told Mississippi Today on Monday afternoon in a telephone interview from Washington.
The president’s opinion of the matter pitted him also against the public stances of several senior military advisers, who reportedly worked to convince the president to allow the Navy’s disciplinary process to play out. 
But by Sunday, Trump’s Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired Richard Spencer, the Secretary of the Navy who resisted the president’s efforts to quash the hearing process. By Monday, officials said Gallagher’s case was closed and no further hearings or disciplinary action would occur.
“He undermined military justice and disrespected people who have served honorably,” Mabus added. “But the main thing at issue is a president keeping a military service from imposing accountability, seeking out justice and deciding who is qualified to be in that service.”
Mabus, who served eight years as President Barack Obama’s Navy secretary, continued: “Gallagher was turned in by members of his own squad. For a president to step in, despite our military leaders saying don’t do this — he ignored the advice of his military commanders and took military advice from Fox News. That’s a very terrifying thing.”
In a Monday letter that acknowledged his termination, Spencer said the president deserved