In yet another use of "commander in chief" powers to carry out personal and party-based vendettas, Donald Trump reached waaaaay down the chain of command this week to order that the military officers who prosecuted the case against latest conservative poster boy Eddie Gallagher, a SEAL accused by his teammates of multiple cold-blooded killings, be stripped of their medals.
He publicly announced that he was ordering the secretary of the Navy to take the act via Twitter, of course. Secretary Richard Spencer followed that order soon afterward.
While the move is being roundly decried as improper and retaliatory, Trump appears to have an absolute power to order the act. And Trump's willingness to ignore the chain of command to impose personal retribution against individual targets of conservative movement wrath is, as with his use of presidential pardons to immunize conservative allies from the consequences of their illegal acts, an apparent signal to other military prosecutors that Trump may well retaliate against efforts to prosecute those accused of similar crimes.
Trump has not been shy about using the tools of his office to pursue his own vendettas. From his insistence that the Department of Justice act as his own ally, prosecuting opponents and exonerating allies, to pardons and even an announced order to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to block emergency aid to fire victims in California until the Democratic-led state gets "their act together," he has relentlessly attempted to legally and illegally lash out against whatever targets have most recently appeared on his Fox News programs.
The far-right was incensed by the Gallagher prosecution; having seen Trump take personal action to retaliate against the latest demonized foes, they will quickly choose new targets. And there doesn't appear to be any restriction against Trump rescinding whatever medals Democratic military veterans in Congress have earned, if they peeve him; that idea will surely percolate through the holes in his brain and find purchase somewhere, sooner or later.