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Departing Naval Secretary: I Cannot in Good Conscience Obey Trump Order

In the past two weeks, Donald Trump has taken the unprecedented step of becoming involved in military discipline. The President stepped in to pardon two soldiers accused of war crimes and restore the rank of a naval officer who had his position downgraded.

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Multiple members of the Navy had made it known that they disagreed with Trump’s actions, including Naval Secretary Richard V. Spencer. On Sunday, the Trump administration asked Spencer to resign. The secretary did just that, but not before penning an acknowledgment of termination letter that stated that following Trump’s orders would violate his oath.

Spencer wrote:

“I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regard to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

It is unknown how Trump may react to the strong words from the departing Secretary. The President took to Twitter to discuss the change. He wrote:

“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 contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction. Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment.”

 



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