Trump’s fired Navy Secretary, Richard Spencer, said that Trump has little understanding of the military and painted a picture of a president who doesn’t care about ethics.
Spencer wrote in The Washington Post:
On Nov. 14, partly because the president had already contacted me twice, I sent him a note asking him not to get involved in these questions. The next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called me and said the president would remain involved. Shortly thereafter, I received a second call from Cipollone who said the president would order me to restore Gallagher to the rank of chief.
This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review. It was also a reminder that the president has 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.
Trump got involved in championing a war criminal because he thought that it would play well with his base and the Fox News audience. Spencer’s story is important because it reveals how far this president is going to attack governmental norms, institutions, and standards. Donald Trump is acting like a king. He is getting involved in the smallest of matters and destroying the credibility of vital institutions in the process.
Donald Trump wasn’t fighting for Eddie Gallagher or anyone else. He was out to score himself some positive coverage in right-wing media. Trump has no ethics or moral compass. He is guided by doing what he wants when he wants to, for his own benefit.
Trump is a moment in the long arc of time, but the damage that he is doing won’t be as easy to clean as getting him out of office.