The comments come a day after criticism from Trump’s former secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, who said the President’s intervention in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher showed the nation’s troops “that you can get away with things.” Trump had moved to protect Gallagher from being demoted and removed from the SEALs as the Navy conducted a review of Gallagher’s behavior in the incident that led him to be convicted of bringing discredit to the armed services after posing next to a dead ISIS fighter’s body.
The move — along with Trump’s pardons of Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who had also faced war crimes allegations — came despite objections from the Pentagon. Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, had warned Trump that intervening in the cases could potentially damage the integrity of the military justice system.
But during his rally in Florida on Tuesday, Trump argued that “people have to be able to fight.”
“They can’t think, ‘Gee whiz, if I make a mistake’ … they wanted to put them in jail for 25 years,” the President said.
“I will always stick up for our great fighters. People can sit there in air conditioned offices and complain, but it doesn’t matter to me whatsoever,” he said.