WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted the U.S. Navy's handling of a Navy SEAL whose rank he recently restored following a court martial, saying he would not allow the service to remove his SEAL status.
This marks the most recent intervention by Trump in a military case and comes despite senior Navy leadership supporting a decision to review Edward Gallagher's status as a SEAL.
"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.
A military jury convicted Gallagher of illegally posing with an Islamic State detainee's corpse while deployed to Iraq in 2017 but acquitted him of murder, prompting a demotion in rank and pay but not prison time.
Trump last week restored his rank https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-warcrimes-pardon/trump-pardons-army-officers-restores-navy-seals-rank-in-war-crimes-cases-idUSKBN1XP2G4 and pay, and pardoned two Army officers who were separately accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Critics said Trump’s moves undermined military justice and sent a message that battlefield atrocities would be tolerated.
U.S. officials and Gallagher's lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday that Navy officials were considering whether to remove him from the Navy's special operations force.
Gallagher and three other SEALs were notified on Wednesday that they must appear before a board that will decide whether they should be stripped of their SEAL status.
The Navy referred questions to the White house.
(Reporting by Idreees Ali and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Lisa Shumaker)
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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2019 03:12:51 IST