The New York Times claimed Saturday that Navy Secretary Richard Spencer threatened to resign in protest over President Donald Trump's alleged push to further intervene in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
The Times reported:
The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by President Trump, administration officials said Saturday.
The high-level pushback to Mr. Trump's unambiguous assertion on Twitter this past week that the commando, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, should remain in the unit was an extraordinary development in what was already an extraordinary case, one with few precedents in the history of presidential relations with the American military.
The newspaper also claimed that Naval Special Warfare Commander Rear Adm. Collin Green threatened to resign in protest.
However, as Fox News reported, officials pushed back against the Times' "inaccurate" reporting that Green threatened to resign over Trump's push to prevent Gallagher from being booted from the SEAL teams.
Later on Saturday, Spencer himself rebuffed the Times' reporting.
"I would like to further state that in no way, shape, or form did I ever threaten to resign. That has been incorrectly reported in the press. I serve at the pleasure of the President," Spencer said on Twitter.
I would like to further state that in no way, shape, or form did I ever threaten to resign. That has been incorrect… https://t.co/wqxhUz6bs5— SECNAV76 (@SECNAV76)1574552790.0
During a defense conference in Halifax, Canada, Spencer further reiterated the inaccuracy of the Times report.
"I'm still here, I did not threaten to resign, we're here to talk about external threats and Eddie Gallagher is not one of them," he said.
Still, Spencer said he would carry out official orders from Trump because, as president, he is commander in chief.