Donald “I Alone Can Fix It!” Trump can’t leave bad enough alone. This week, Trump rebuked Navy leadership in a shamefully unprecedented way. Not only does his stunt remind the world how petty and vindictive our supposed leader is, it also emphasizes how quick Trump is to disrespect and humiliate his own government simply because he may not agree with something certain people did, as if our government is the enemy.
Last month, a jury of five Marines found Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader, not guilty of war crimes that included first-degree murder of a captured teenage ISIS fighter and the attempted murder of Iraqi civilians. However, the jury convicted Gallagher of posing for photos with the ISIS fighter’s corpse, for which he faces up to four months of confinement and a lowering of rank. Months before the trial even began, Trump publicly expressed support for Gallagher, saying he would have him released from pretrial confinement “in honor of his past service to our country.” After the verdict, Trump tweeted praise and sympathy for Gallagher and his wife while also being sure to pat himself on the back: “Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”
On July 10, the Navy awarded medals to eight members of the prosecution team for their work on Gallagher’s case. This news prompted Trump to rage-tweet on Tuesday: “The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal. Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion. I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards. I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!”
This is not the first time that a President of the United States has disagreed with the military’s decisions to award medals. But according to experts interviewed by the New York Times, Presidents have expressed and resolved their objections in private, not through angry public tweets that further publicize and inflame a situation.
Just as Trump has repeatedly brushed aside the findings of the U.S. intelligence community regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election like a treasonous ignoramus, he now reminds us how quick he is to disrespect the institutions and people who serve our country with honor and pride just because he disagrees with something. Trump is a petty, vindictive buffoon of a leader who produces dirty laundry and then enjoys airing it to the world at our nation’s expense. Every day, Trump figures out new ways to disgrace America.