President Donald Trump hosted a retired Navy SEAL who had been charged with numerous war crimes and was called “evil” and “toxic” in a recent report by his former platoon members during a military investigation.
According to Edward Gallagher‘s Instagram account, he met with President Trump at his Mar-A-Lago resort and gave the president a “gift” from his time serving in Iraq.
During Gallagher’s time in Iraq, as a platoon chief, he was accused of multiple war crimes, including shooting at civilians and killing a sedated teen ISIS member with a hunting knife who was being held captive and receiving medical aid, The New York Times reported at the time.
He stood trial last summer but was acquitted on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder of civilians. He was convicted of the lesser crime of posing for inappropriate photos with a dead captive after having admitted to posing with the teen ISIS fighter’s corpse, The Times reported.
A New York Times report published Friday morning revealed direct quotes from members of Gallagher’s former SEAL team, who told investigators they were worried about their chief’s actions.
“The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator Miller told investigators, according to The Times.
“The guy was toxic,” said Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, in another interview.
“You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving,” Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told Navy investigators, according to The Times, which reported that the platoon members declined to comment to the newspaper.
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
Gallagher denied the most serious allegations against him, and his family members have repeatedly appeared on Fox News to defend him and brand him as a hero. His lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, told the Times the soldiers’ accounts were riddled with inconsistencies, and Gallagher himself has said his accusers concocted their accounts to cover up their inability to meet his high standards.
After the accusations against Gallagher, Republican lawmakers and conservative media outlets rallied around him.
President Trump publicly jumped to Gallagher’s defense, reversing Gallagher’s demotion and then directing the Navy to not take away Gallagher’s trident pin — a symbol of membership in the prestigious Navy SEALs.
A day after Gallagher was acquitted of the most serious charges against him, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”
Gallagher and his wife Andrea share an Instagram account, which showed a series of photos with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at their Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend where they said they met the president and thanked him for defending him.
“Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” the post read.