The brother of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher pleaded with military leadership to let his brother retire with dignity, as President Trump redoubled his support for the embattled SEAL.
“Let my brother go!” Sean Gallagher said after Adm. Collin Green, in charge of Naval Special Warfare Command, ordered the SEAL to face a Navy review board that may strip him of his Trident, a prized symbol of a SEAL’s service and tied to his retirement benefits.
President Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “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!”
“Eddie was supposed to retire this week, put in his papers and get out,” Sean Gallagher said. “This is the admiral’s last-ditch effort to snub the president and my brother.”
Back in October, the Navy upheld Gallager’s conviction on a single charge of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq. He had acquitted on six charges, including the murder of the ISIS militant. Gallagher’s sentence reduced his rank, costing him up to $200,000 in retirement funds.
Last week, the White House announced that Trump signed an order reversing the sentence and promoting Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried.
In response to the president’s tweet, Sean Gallagher said, “Big thanks to the president for his leadership. He spoke to Eddie and Eddie was really impressed with how much he knew about his case. He restored Eddie’s rank as a message of support to the nation’s warfighters.”
National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported Wednesday that Green’s decision to go forward with the new review “had been taken weeks ago and was not in response to the president’s decision last Friday.”
Gallagher did not accept that explanation. “The president this morning was pretty clear. He said Eddie’s Trident wouldn’t be taken away. I read that as an order from the commander-in-chief… Eddie’s rank was restored by the president and then Collin Green said he was still going to pull his Trident because it was still within his purview. Now, Trump has said, ‘No.’ If Green goes forward, then that is insubordination.”
“I have been stunned at the institutional arrogance and insubordination,” he continued. “This is a two-star defying the intent and direct order of the president. President Trump could not have made it any clearer.”
Sean Gallagher also reiterated his concerns over how the military treated his brother from the very start.
“The military would have thrown Eddie under the bus to make the institution look good. In their eyes, Eddie was guilty until proven innocent… This is a soldier earning $50,000 a year fighting the war of terror and this is the situation that he is thrown in.”
TRUMP DECLARES NAVY WILL NOT TAKE AWAY EDDIE GALLAGHER’S SEAL TRIDENT, AS ATTORNEY BLASTS ADMIRAL
On Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive” on Wednesday, Wall Street Journal editorial board member William McGurn led a panel discussion of Gallagher’s case and the issue of military justice reform.
Fox News contributor and retired Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny “Joey” Jones, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that the system must change.
“I think that there’s something inherently wrong when the institution that spins you up, trains you and indoctrinates you — and that’s not a small word — sends you to an area of unknown consequence and unknown factors… and when your instinct overpowers your judgment — that you would be put on trial the same way a civilian walking through New York stabbed someone will be put on trial. I’m saying that those two things are different.”
Jones, who was severely injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010, said the federal government must do more to support troops since they’re asked to take on greater risk for the greater good.
“I don’t have legs today because our policy was that we will not drop a bomb on this town. We will send these bomb techs in there and they will risk their life and limb to go in and take apart these 207 bombs in 2 square kilometers,” he said. “My point is, we already go above and beyond… for the innocent civilians in the places that we have to go because our enemies determined it.”
Jones told Fox Nation, “What we can’t do is allow the government to abdicate its own responsibility when it’s the one asking us to go there to do its bidding and to die for it… when the indoctrination overshadows the judgment.”
EXPERT PANEL DEBATE MILITARY JUSTICE REFORM
Sean Gallagher also told Fox News his family was starting a foundation focused on helping service members and families finding themselves in similar circumstances to his brother.
“Andrea [wife of Eddie Gallagher] and I had to raise over $1 million to hire lawyers to navigate the [the uniform code of military justice],” he concluded. “We are forming a non-profit that is going to be dedicated to legal aid and financial assistance to any family that is going through what we did.”
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Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.