A retired Navy SEAL acquitted of war crimes has met with President Donald Trump to thank him after he overruled the Navy’s decision to strip him of his Trident pin.
Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher and his wife, Andrea, were shown in photos published Dec. 22 on the Instagram account “eddie_and_andrea,” which appears to be the couple’s joint account.
The images show the Gallaghers speaking with the president and first lady as the president shakes hands with Mrs. Gallagher.
In one photo, the president also appears to be holding a gift in his hands, although it is unclear what it is.
“Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” the caption reads.
Mar-a-Lago was listed as the location on the post, which is where the president is spending two weeks during the Christmas holidays.
A decorated veteran, Gallagher was in the national spotlight when he was accused of a number of war crimes, including murder in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old unarmed ISIS captive, and attempted murder in the alleged shooting of civilians during a 2017 deployment to Iraq.
A military court decision earlier this year acquitted him of the multiple murder charges but sentenced him to a demotion for violating military law by posing for a photo next to a dead ISIS fighter’s body.
His rank, however, was later reinstated after the president reversed the military court decision.
I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2019
He was also allowed to keep his Trident pin, which is awarded to those who have completed an intense qualification course. It also symbolizes official Navy SEAL membership.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer was forced to resign after it emerged that he had tried to negotiate with the White House in the Gallagher case, in contradiction to his public position.
Spencer had privately suggested to White House officials that he would ensure Gallagher would retire with his official Navy SEAL status if they didn’t interfere with proceedings against him, according to The Washington Post.
He later admitted that he hadn’t told Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about trying to cut a deal with the White House either, prompting Esper to tell reporters that Spencer was resigning due to his “lack of candor.”
In a letter acknowledging his termination, Spencer noted that his view of military justice was at odds with Trump’s.
“I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath that I took in the presence of my family, my flag, and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he wrote.