Courtesy of CBS News

Richard Spencer, the former secretary of the Navy, said he was fired before he could resign over the president’s decision to intervene in an internal review of a Navy SEAL convicted of posing with the corpse, and downplayed a supposed backchannel offer to the White House that served as the justification for his ouster.

“I never threatened to resign. I do. I don’t threaten,” Spencer told CBS News correspondent David Martin after leaving the Pentagon on Monday. “I got fired.”

Spencer stepped down at the request of Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday amid an ongoing controversy over Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, whose case attracted President Trump’s attention.


Spencer said Monday that he doesn’t think Mr. Trump “really understands the full definition of a warfighter.”

“A warfighter is a profession of arms and a profession of arms has standards that they have to be held to, and they hold themselves to,” he said.

In his resignation letter Sunday, Spencer said he opposed the president’s insistence that Gallagher be allowed to remain a SEAL.

“I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took,” he said. He wrote that the Constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice “are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all.” And Spencer said he had “strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent.”

Simply put Trump does not understand rules and regulations and only respects those that serve his needs and rejects those that restrict his powers or get in his way. 

Robert Spencer was standing up for the rule of law and military integrity, but none of that matters to a man who models his presidency on the examples set by foreign dictators around the world.