I’m as confused as Jazz is about what happened here. The NYT reported on Saturday morning that Navy Secretary Richard Spencer had privately threatened to resign in protest if Trump short-circuited the Navy’s review of Eddie Gallagher and insisted that he keep his Trident Pin as a SEAL. Then Spencer told an audience at an event on Saturday afternoon that he’d never threatened to resign. On Sunday morning news broke that Trump was backing off his demand about Gallagher and would let the Navy’s process go forward. At that point it looked like maybe Spencer *had* given Trump an ultimatum and that it had paid off.
But wait. A few hours later, word broke that Spencer was fired, allegedly because he had proposed to the White House a deal in which Trump would let the Navy conduct its review of Gallagher but Gallagher would keep his Trident in the end, i.e. the process would be rigged to produce the result the president wanted. Supposedly Mark Esper, the defense secretary, hadn’t been looped in on that offer. Spencer had gone behind his back and therefore he had to go. So maybe Spencer *didn’t* privately threaten to resign, as it sounds like he was okay with Gallagher keeping his pin after all.
But then how to explain his letter to Trump that was released last night, emphasizing that he no longer shared the commander-in-chief’s views about what constitutes “good order and discipline”? “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took,” Spencer wrote. So … he did resign in protest? Or was he fired? Does Esper even have the legal authority to fire Spencer?