Military leaders raised concerns with White House after Trump tweet on SEAL case, administration official says

By Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Updated 10:32 AM ET, Sun November 24, 2019

Washington (CNN) Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley have raised serious concerns with the White House in the last 48 hours after President Donald Trump signaled he would block the Navy from ejecting Eddie Gallagher from the SEALs, an administration official told CNN.

“There is extreme concern over decision making being pulled from the Navy,” one administration official told CNN Saturday in reaction to Trump’s Thursday tweet that “the Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin.” The Trident Pin, which is worn by Navy SEALs, is awarded following their completion of an intense qualification course and symbolizes membership in the elite military community.

As of Saturday afternoon, a review of Gallagher’s status was expected to proceed. That review is considering whether he should be able to continue as a SEAL or be expelled, according to one defense official.

Trump early this month ignored advice from the Pentagon and intervened in three war crimes cases. Trump pardoned two service members and restored Gallagher’s rank.

Gallagher had been demoted after being found guilty of posing for a photo with the dead body of an ISIS casualty in Iraq. He had faced a court-martial for premeditated murder and attempted murder, but was acquitted.


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