A former sniper who served in an elite Navy SEAL platoon has said that Trump’s interventions in the Navy’s disciplinary process have turned them into a ‘national clown show.’
He also said it undermined trust in our troops and in the chain of command.
Chris Shumake served in the platoon of Chief Edward Gallagher, the subject of a war crimes prosecution. Gallagher’s colleagues had told Navy investigators they had seen him shoot civilians and murder a wounded captive. He was found not guilty of those charges but guilty of the serious offense of posing for a “trophy” picture with the victim.
What he said
“It’s blown up bigger than any of us could have ever expected, and turned into a national clown show that put a bad light on the teams,” Mr. Shumake told the New York Times on Monday, speaking publicly for the first time.
Trump’s “trying to show he has the troops’ backs, but he’s saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders to make the right decisions.”
He isn’t alone either
Last week, in an unprecedented intervention, the ex-Secretary of the Navy said Trump had: “very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”
Why this matters
Experts and Navy officials are privately and publicly saying the President’s actions have led to falling morale at the elite Navy SEALs.
Trump has emboldened war criminals who will worry less about the rules, they say, and this episode will erode the professionalism of the military.
Many also worry that it will also be a boon for terror groups’ anti-military propaganda.