Following the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper has put forth Ambassador to Norway and retired Navy rear admiral Kenneth Braithwaite to fill the seat of 77th Secretary of the Navy.
Spencer allegedly was working a deal with President Trump to allow Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher to retire in his current rank and not lose his status as a SEAL after posing for a photo with the corpse of an Islamic State prisoner of war in 2017 (Gallagher was acquitted of a string of other war crimes, including murdering a prisoner). Esper said Spencer had not told him of the proposal to the White House, causing him to lose “trust and confidence.”
In yet another twist, Esper also directed on Sunday that Gallagher be allowed to retire at the end of this month, and that the Navy review board that was scheduled to hear his case starting Dec. 2 be cancelled. At Esper’s direction, Gallagher will be allowed to retire as a SEAL at his current rank. Gallagher, speaking Sunday on “Fox & Friends,” alleged the Navy was acting in retaliation. “They could have taken my Trident at any time they wanted,” he said. “Now they’re trying to take it after the president restored my rank.” Gallagher formerly held the title of Special Warfare Operator Chief before the controversy began. President Trump said he is nominating Kenneth Braithwaite to succeed Spencer.
With files from the Associated Press.