President Donald Trump has again inserted himself somewhere he doesn’t belong. I understand that he is commander in chief of the military by Constitutional definition…but that doesn’t mean he needs or that he should get involved with the day to day operations of the military. Strategy, yes. Budgets, yes. Leave the discipline to the power structure and hierarchy of the military. You know, the military you know nothing about other than what you saw in John Wayne movies.
But, no, the president has found it necessary to insert himself into discipline of a US Navy Seal. And needless to say this has caused a bit of consternation on the part of US Navy leadership and a bit of push back from top brass.
The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by President Trump, administration officials said Saturday.
The Navy is proceeding with the disciplinary plans against the commando, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who counts Mr. Trump as one of his most vocal supporters. After reversing a demotion in recent days, the president suggested on Thursday that he would intervene again in the case, saying that the sailor should remain in the unit.
And as I’ve urged on several occasions, we really really need legal definitions around what the rules are for elected officials’ use of social media…including the president’s constant presence on Twitter. And the gray area around social media has encouraged the Navy to continue with their actions against CPO Gallagher:
One argument that officials said may be relied on is the assumption that a tweet does not constitute a formal presidential order. Mr. Esper and General Milley conveyed to the president that if he followed up that tweet with a direct order, there would be huge consequences: Mr. Trump would lose Mr. Spencer and Admiral Green, further infuriate his top military leadership and do untold damage to decades of military justice doctrine, according to administration officials.
It will be a tremendous hit on morale if the president takes singular action that would cause experienced and respected military leadership to resign. And having had no military experience what. so. ever, it’s time for the president to take the advice of his own chain of command.