In a series of photos posted on Instagram, Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, who was demoted in the wake of a conviction on war crime charges but whose demotion was reversed by Donald Trump, is seen with Trump with what is described as a “little” gift at a holiday party at Mar-a-Lago. “Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” the post caption reads, followed by the hashtag #Trump2020.
Last month Trump interfered in the now-retired SEAL’s war crimes case after Gallagher was demoted one rank and at risk of being stripped of his Special Warfare insignia, or Trident pin, signifying his status as a SEAL. Trump reversed Gallagher’s demotion and ordered the Pentagon not to strip him of the pin. Despite the preference of many Navy and SEALs officials that Gallagher face consequences after his conviction, the president’s order prevailed. Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Charlie Brown told Daily Kos, “The Navy follows the lawful orders of the President.”
Related: Trump officially orders Pentagon to keep Navy SEAL turned war criminal
Trump then took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the “unfair” trial Gallagher faced and his involvement in the case in a series of tweets Nov. 24. “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank,” Trump wrote. The gold pin symbolizes membership in the elite military force and is given to members after they have completed a 65-week-long training program. Trump confirmed that Gallagher would keep his pin and “retire peacefully with all of the honors he has earned.”
AOL’s reporting noted that Gallagher was not only accused of war crimes but also “charged with multiple counts of murder, including shooting and killing an unarmed elderly man and a schoolgirl while deployed in Iraq and fatally stabbing a teenage ISIS fighter who was brought in for medical treatment.” While Gallagher was acquitted of those charges, he became infamous when he was convicted of shaming the armed forces by posing for a picture next to a teenage prisoner’s dead body alongside the American flag and texting it to fellow SEALs.
Trump has continued to support the convicted war criminal. In Sept. 2018, Gallagher was arrested when Navy officials learned that seven members of his platoon were “warned” and their careers threatened by their commander if they spoke up against Gallagher. Gallagher was acquitted of all charges but found guilty of posing in and sharing the photo and sentenced to the four months’ confinement he had already served, according to the Associated Press.
Related: Trump blocks Navy SEALS' effort to oust convicted war criminal who posed with Iraqi corpse
Last month NPR reported
that three other SEALS were able to keep their pins despite being implicated in war crimes, following Trump’s involvement in Gallagher's case. Reporter Tom Bowman said that when asked why the three SEALs had been able to keep their pins, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said that he canceled the reviews because the Navy was undeserving of “
the continued distraction and negative attention that recent events have evoked."