Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, received an endorsement on Friday from a high-profile ex-member of a current administration: Richard V. Spencer, who served as U.S. Navy secretary under President Donald Trump.
In November 2019, Spencer was fired for his handling of the Eddie Gallagher case; Gallagher was a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, and when Trump interfered in the case, Spencer objected. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on November 27, 2019 — after he had been fired — Spencer discussed Gallagher’s case.
According to Spencer, Trump “has very little understanding” of how the U.S. military works.
Spencer has gone from being part of a Republican administration to endorsing a Democratic campaign, and NBC News is reporting that Spencer — explaining his decision to endorse Bloomberg — asserted, “This decision here is for the good of the country. Loyalty is to the country, not to a person.”
Under Trump’s presidency, Spencer asserted, the U.S. has suffered from a foreign policy standpoint — and its alliances have been hurt by “chaos” and “political static.” Spencer asserted that when “military was talking to military” and he was communicating with military leaders in countries that are U.S. allies, they expressed frustration with Trump.
“It was fraying, it was confusing, it was exhausting,” Spencer recalled. “The message one way, the message the next way — it was untenable.”
Gallagher, in 2019, was acquitted of murder in a military court. On November 21, 2019, Trump asserted in a tweet that Gallagher should not be deprived of his Navy SEAL trident insignia. Spencer, however, objected to Trump’s interference and believed that he needed to leave military matters to the U.S. military. That month, Mark Esper (secretary of the U.S. Defense Department) demanded Spencer’s resignation.
Although Bloomberg’s presidential campaign commercials have been airing on MSNBC and other outlets, he has not participated in any of the Democratic presidential debates — and he did not take part in the Iowa Caucuses. Bloomberg’s game plan is to make his mark at Super Tuesday in March.