US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on Sunday fired US Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer over his controversial handling of Navy Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher’ case, an elite soldier earlier demoted and accused of committing war crimes in 2017.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted that he would nominate current US Envoy to Norway – a retired Navy rear admiral – Kenneth Braithwaite to the post, suggesting that “Ken will do an outstanding job!”.
Esper reportedly said hours earlier – after Spencer submitted his resignation – that he had nominated Braithwaite to the White House as Spencer’s successor.
Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for the Pentagon said in a statement cited by US-based media that Esper had lost the “trust and confidence” of his superiors after learning that the Navy secretary had privately proposed to the White House that Gallagher be allowed to retire with his current rank and without losing his status as a SEAL. The DoD chief stressed that in previous conversations with Spencer about Gallagher’s case, Spencer had not told Esper of his proposal to the White House.
Esper and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly learned of Spencer’s private offer to the White House earlier this week, after Trump revealed the offer.
In the resignation statement, Spencer has not mentioned Gallagher’s case as a reason behind his ousting but stressed that he was no…