Say what you will about how it all turned out, there’s no doubt that Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher owes President Donald Trump an enormous debt of gratitude. The president went to bat for Gallagher like few (if any) politicians would have ever done, going so far as to fire his Secretary of the Navy when he saw his orders were not being carried out. Gallagher will almost certainly keep his SEAL Trident pin now and retire with full decoration.
And Gallagher is not confused as to whom he has to thank for that honor.
“President Donald Trump, you have my deepest gratitude and thanks. You stepped in numerous times and showed true moral fiber by correcting all the wrongs that were being done to me. You are a true leader and exactly what this military and this nation needs. God bless you and your family,” Eddie Gallagher said in a statement to Fox News.
Gallagher’s attorney, Tim Parlatore – who has been instrumental in drawing intense public attention to his client’s ordeal – said in an interview with The Daily Beast that President Trump called Gallagher to tell him that his rank reinstatement was in the works. Gallagher then got his lawyer and his family on a conference call to tell them the good news. At one point, Parlatore joked with his client: “There’s no quid pro quo? He didn’t ask you to investigate the Bidens?”
“No, he just gave it to me!” Gallagher replied, laughing.
It’s unremarkable to say that President Trump angered a bunch of people, but boy did he draw some furious reactions for this move. You can’t scan the mainstream media without seeing a bunch of liberal hand-wringers whining about how military justice has been undermined, how the SEALs are going to become an undisciplined group of war criminals now, and how President Trump is a complete beast for wanting these pardoned warriors on the campaign trail with him next year.
But Trump doesn’t care. He remembers when the media had a very different reaction to a president offering pardons and lifelines to disgraced soldiers.
“Some very unfair things were happening,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “You let Sergeant [Bowe] Bergdahl go. You let others go, including a young gentleman [Chelsea Manning], now a person who President Obama let go, who stole tremendous amounts of classified information. And you let that person go.
“So when you have a system that allows Sergeant Bergdahl to go and you probably have five to six people killed, nobody even knows the number because he left, and he gets a slap in the wrist, if that,” continued Trump. “And then you have a system where these warriors get put in jail for 25 years — I’m going to stick up for our warrior. I will stick up for the warriors.”