Over the last two weeks, Donald Trump has took it upon himself to reverse three war crime punishments handed down by the military. The extraordinary step by the President led to the resignation of Naval Secretary Richard V. Spencer.
Trump who intervened in the cases of Edward Gallagher, Mathew Golsteyn and Clint Lorance, doesn’t seem to mind the criticism. In fact, the President today told reporters that he is the first President who has been willing to “stand up for them.”
Asked about why he made the decision despite pushback from the military, Trump said, “some very unfair things were happening.” He continued, “There’s never been a president that’s going to stick up for them, and has, like I have.”
The President then compared his treatment of military cases to that of his predecessor, “You let Sgt. Bergdahl go, you let others go, including a young gentlemen — now a person — (Chelsea Manning) who President Obama let go who stole tremendous amounts of classified information.”
Continuing on Manning, Trump said, “So when you have Chelsea Manning, who stole classified information and did many, many things that were not good, and gets pardoned, or whatever happened, and you have a Sgt. Bergdahl who gets virtually nothing happens, a slap on the wrist, and then they want to put these warriors in jail for 25 years.”
The President then spoke of Clint Lorance, specifically. Lorance was convicted on two counts of murder in 2013, with nine members of his platoon testifying against him. Trump said of the former Army officer, “One of them, Lorance, served six years in jail, had many years left as a fighter. No, we’re not going to do that to our people.”