A former Navy SEAL now serving in Congress said an internal review board — such as one that would have determined whether pardoned Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher should be stripped of his coveted Trident pin — would not have been out of the ordinary.
“People need to understand that Tridents, the Navy warfare pin that identifies us as SEALS, are pulled regularly, often for offenses much less serious than this case,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw, the Texas Republican who spent a decade as a Navy SEAL before he was medically retired in 2016 after losing his eye in an IED explosion.
Chief Gallagher served eight combat tours in the region and was later charged with several crimes, including illegally killing a captured ISIS fighter. Citing prosecutor bungling and a desire to stick up for troops in harm’s way, President Trump pardoned him and two others over the objections of senior Pentagon officials.
A review to determine whether Chief Gallagher could remain in the elite SEALs force was similarly short-circuited by Mr. Trump, leading to the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer late last month.
“The president felt that Eddie had already been punished enough after nine months in the brig, which is typically served for convicted criminals,” Mr.. Crenshaw said. “There is some validity to that argument as well.”
In addition to the clemency for Chief Gallagher, President Trump pardoned two Army officers also accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan: First Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn.
“Central to this conversation is the issue of fairness and what we deem to be fair for us or not,” Mr. Crenshaw said. “It is an open and honest question whether there should be a Trident Review Board. Either side can make a strong argument.”
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