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Navy secretary denies reports he'll resign over Trump's intervention on Gallagher

By Christen McCurdy
Navy secretary denies reports he'll resign over Trump's intervention on Gallagher
U.S. Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, shown here with US President Donald J. Trump in July, denied reports Saturday that he has threatened to resign over Trump's intervention in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted of posing for a photo with a dead prisoner of war. Photo by Oliver Contreras/EPA-EFE

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- US Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer on Saturday denied reports that he had threatened to resign after President Donald Trump intervened in the case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was demoted after he was found guilty of posing for photos with a dead prisoner of war.

"I would like to further state that in no way, shape, or form did I ever threaten to resign. That has been incorrectly reported in the press. I serve at the pleasure of the President," said a Saturday-night post from the official Secretary of the Navy Twitter account.

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Spencer also denied the reports directly during a speaking engagement at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada Saturday.

"If the president requests to the stop the process, the process stops. Good order and discipline is also obeying orders from the president of the United States," Spencer said. He did say that a "formal order" is required to stop the process of demotion -- not just a tweet.

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In July Gallagher was acquitted of war crimes charges that included murdering an ISIS captive, shooting civilians and threatening those who gave their superiors information on him during his time in Iraq, but convicted of taking the photo. He was sentenced to four months confinement and loss of rank, a punishment upheld last month by the Navy's top officer.

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On Thursday the President tweeted that the Navy would not be removing Gallagher's Navy SEAL trident. Trump had previously restored Gallagher's rank to E-7.

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