US Defence Secretary Mark Esper
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper

US Defence Secretary says Trump ordered him to allow convicted Navy SEAL to keep elite status

ANI | Updated: Nov 26, 2019 06:56 IST

Washington DC [USA], Nov 26 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said that President Donald Trump ordered him to allow a Navy SEAL acquitted of posing with a corpse of a slain ISIS terrorist, to retire without losing his elite status.
"I spoke with the President on Sunday. He gave me the order that (Navy SEAL) Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident pin," Esper told reporters at the Pentagon, as cited by the Hill.
While the US President had, last week, tweeted that he wanted Gallagher to be allowed to retire as a SEAL, the admission by Esper suggests that Trump directly intervened to make sure it happened.
Gallagher has been accused of war crimes during his deployment in Iraq in 2017. While he was acquitted of a murder charge related to the 2017 stabbing death of an ISIS fighter, he was demoted to Chief when a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse.
"The case of Eddie Gallagher has dragged on for months and has distracted too many. It must end," Esper said. "Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident as the commander in chief directed and will retire at the end of this month." (ANI)

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