Trump meddling in military matters

To the Journal editor:

In case you haven’t heard, in only six months, both leaders of the U.S. Navy appointed by President Trump are gone as a result of his intervention via tweets into the Navy’s chain of command. The result is crisis and chaos.

This kind of civilian meddling into military affairs, common in non-Democratic regimes, is unprecedented in America. First, on Nov. 15, Trump overturned the Navy’s demotion of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher who was charged with war crimes in Iraq. Displeased with how the Navy handled Gallagher’s trial and demotion, Trump fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

Then in March, Trump tweeted his displeasure of how Brett Crozier, Captain of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, pleaded with the Navy to protect 4,800 crew from a serious coronavirus outbreak. The need to please President Trump, being foremost in his mind and mindful of Trump’s firing of his predecessor, new acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired Capt. Crozier. The captain tested positive for coronavirus along with 173 crew members. Captain Crozier received a hero’s send-off from the crew as he walked off the ship.

Secretary Modly compounded his mistake by blasting Capt. Crozier in front of the crew using profanity and calling the Captain “stupid.” After a firestorm of public and military opinion against Modly, he resigned. More crisis and chaos in the military.

We need a president who understands the proper relationship between military and civilian authority in a democracy.




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