The order of command is first President Trump, Commander in Chief; then Secretary of Defense, Esper; then Secretary of Navy, Spencer.
Navy Seal Gallagher was acquitted in a Navy court for the stabbing death of an enemy combatant. Gallagher, for the most part, had received his due process. Most of his turmoil was behind him. He was found guilty of posing for a picture with that enemy corpse. For that offense, he received and served four months in the brig. He was demoted in rank.
Further details remained to be resolved. His pay and his Navy Seal trident pin?
President Trump intervened for those remainders and restored Gallagher’s rank. He also allowed the taking of Gallagher’s trident pin and allowed Gallagher to retire.
President Trump has every right to grant clemency. Clemency is not interference and not obstruction. It is the president’s final act of resolution, the period at the end of a word sentence.
Without equivocation, Spencer had no right to speak against Trump’s final act; his resolution, as an act of kindness. Secretary of the Navy Spencer spoke his last words, he was rightly fired.
Spencer et al asserted that clemency toward Gallagher would disrupt Navy personnel order in the future. Not so! That assertion is myopic misunderstanding of human behavior. As if only the stick works; what about clemency? It is easy to overdo the stick. It is very difficult to overdo clemency.
“To everything, turn turn, a time for every purpose under Heaven.” A time for the stick and a time for kindness.