WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that the Navy “will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” inserting himself into an ongoing legal review of the sailor’s ability to hold onto the pin that designates him a SEAL.
The Navy on Wednesday notified Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher that he will face a review early next month to determine if he should remain on the elite force.
Gallagher was acquitted of a murder charge in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive, but a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017. He was then demoted to chief.
His lawyers have accused the Navy of trying to remove the SEAL designation in retaliation for Trump’s decision last week to restore Gallagher’s rank.
Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, a Navy spokesman, responded Thursday: “The Navy follows the lawful orders of the President. We will do so in case of an order to stop the administrative review of SOC Gallagher’s professional qualification. We are aware of the President’s tweet and we are awaiting further guidance.”
Trump tweeted Thursday, “This case was handled very badly from the beginning.”
Gallagher filed a complaint with the inspector general accusing a rear admiral of insubordination for defying Trump’s actions. Rear Adm. Collin Green is the Naval Special Warfare commander.
Two U.S. officials familiar with the case but not authorized to speak publicly said Wednesday that discussions about convening a review Board began shortly after Gallagher’s conviction in July. They said the decision was not in reaction to Trump’s decision to restore Gallagher’s rank.