November 25, 2019 / 8:08 PM / 18 days ago

Trump says he was sticking up for U.S. armed forces with comments on Spencer

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer speaks with personnel during a visit to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, July 12, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Akeel Austin/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was sticking up for the U.S. armed forces with his critical comments about former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who was fired over the weekend.

“I think what I’m doing is sticking up for our armed forces,” Trump said at an Oval Office meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov when asked about his comments.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Spencer, saying the Navy chief had sought to cut a side deal with the White House that was “contrary to what we had agreed to and contrary to Secretary Spencer’s public position” on a case involving Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Lisa Lambert

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