Top Navy SEAL defies Trump pardon of Edward Gallagher and sends case for military review
Gallagher, who is accused of shooting civilians and killing a captive enemy fighter, could see his ouster from the force even as the president reversed his demotion last week.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to clear three service members convicted or accused of war crimes has sparked a controversy. On November 15, he pardoned two officers jailed for war crimes besides reversing the demotion of a Navy SEAL who has been acquitted of murder. The Navy SEAL, Edward Gallagher, had his title of chief petty officer restored by Trump.
And now, a top Navy SEAL officer named Collin Green is sending Gallagher’s controversial case for a military review defying Trump’s move and it could see Gallagher’s expulsion from the SEALs. The president himself came under strong criticism for his pardoning acts and his Democratic presidential opponent Joe Biden even went to the extent of saying that he was unfit to command the American troops.
Rear Admiral Green, who heads the Navy Special Warfare Command, reportedly has received a green signal from the Navy to take away Gallagher’s Trident pin that symbolizes his SEALs membership. Sources in the US Navy said on condition of anonymity that Gallagher is expected to be notified by the Navy officials that he is to be removed from the elite Navy SEALs. Gallagher’s superiors are also expected to be removed from the team, the New York Times reported. The notification was expected to happen on Wednesday, November 20.
It was also reported that initiatives to remove Gallagher’s Trident pin started earlier in November but the White House stopped short of clearing the action.
Review not to be affected by Trump's pardon, says Navy source
One unnamed Navy officer told CBS News that the review has the backing of the Navy’s secretary and the chief of Naval Operations and it is about reviewing Gallagher’s suitability to be a SEAL. He also said that it is solely an administrative action which is not affected by Trump’s pardoning act.
Gallagher faced court-martial for shooting civilians in Iraq; killing a captive enemy fighter with a knife and threatening to kill fellow SEALs. He was acquitted by a military jury in July of all charges barring the one for posing with the corpse of the captive he allegedly killed.
Trump has been criticized for his pardoning act
Trump’s decision to not only pardon Gallagher but also reversing his demotion earned a backlash not just at home but also abroad. The United Nations condemned his act as a “disturbing signal” to the armed forces across the globe. At home, former Joint Chiefs chairman General Martin Dempsey tweeted saying the president’s “wholesale pardon” gave the impression that the American forces cared little about the law of armed conflicts.
Gallagher was elated following the presidential clemency and expressed on Twitter gratitude to Trump on behalf of both himself and his family. Trump also congratulated them on the social media platform even though he left the people polarized.