President Donald Trump has now cleared three armed service members Friday accused of war crimes: Clint Lorance, Eddie Gallagher, and Mathew Golsteyn. Trump also reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL, acquitted of murder.
Gallagher was also charged in a more minor war crimes case this summer that he has now been pardoned from.
“There are no words to describe how grateful my family and I are to our President – Donald J Trump for his intervention and decision,” Gallagher posted on social media quickly after the announcement.
An issuance of clemency went to Clint Lorance, a former army Lieutenant, convicted of murder for commanding soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men. Two of them died.
Trump also granted clemency to Major Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer. His trial was set to begin in December
Trump also personally called the three men, who many conservatives believe should not have been prosecuted. Trump previously said about the Golsteyn case, “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”
The White House released a statement shortly after the action to explain: ‘The president, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted.”
“For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country,” the statement explains.
“These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, “when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.”
Lorance was an 82nd Airborne Division Lieutenant and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in August. He was charged for ordering his men to recklessly open fire on the Afghan men in July of 2012. Two of the men were killed in the gunfire.
A court martial was also scheduled in December at Fort Bragg, North Carolina against the former Green Beret, Golsteyn, who had been accused of killing a while deployed in Afghanistan.
Golsteyn believed a bomb-maker was responsible for killing two U.S. Marines, Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary and Lance Cpl. Larry Johnson.
Gallagher made headlines recently for having his rank educed to that of Senior chief to Petty Officer First Class and also had $10,000 docked from his pay in July. He was convicted of posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter.
“The jury came with a verdict. I trust them,” he said.
Trump backed up Gallagher at the time and said, “Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family.”