UPDATE: Donald Trump has ordered his defense secretary to reverse US Navy Department order to remove a decorated SEAL from the team he leads because of three instances of controversial “bad-guy” remarks. Trump canceled the order just days after a highly competitive Navy selection board recommended to the president to remove the decorated senior SEAL, Edward Gallagher.
The order from Defense Secretary James Mattis requiring the removal from the team by an officer on the senior enlisted ranking at rank of E6, was issued following a request from Trump and top White House adviser, Jared Kushner.
The Navy said Trump asked for the order against Gallagher to be put back into effect on Saturday, in a move that the president declared, in a tweet, had “made the country proud”.
A senior member of the White House National Security Council told Fox News that Trump and Kushner wanted to reach out to “connect[d] with a specific element of the community who could take a stand”.
Stripped of the job
Gallagher is the most senior Navy SEAL killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is highly unusual for a Medal of Honor nominee to be removed from the team on the senior enlisted rank.
White House sources confirmed that the order was reversed on Saturday evening. The following tweet was posted on Saturday night, shortly after the order was overturned:
Just 10 minutes before Trump reversed the Navy’s decision, the Navy circulated a short memo on the career of the 20-year-old Gallagher and publicly outlined the three incidents of questionable behavior.
One of those was what has been described as “casual violence”, seen as inappropriate harassment, throwing a seat from a plane at a man and shoving a woman.
The third incident detailed by Navy officials is a speech to a group of students that included a disclaimer not to interact with any athletes during the Olympics. Although these latest allegations paint Gallagher in a different light from previous incidents and are seen by some analysts as precedent in the modern service.
Gallagher has refused comment on the incident or the Navy’s investigation into the complaints.
Source: The Huffington Post.