If you’re wondering why President Donald Trump is planning to pardon three alleged war criminals, you likely have Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth to thank.
Two days ago, the New York Times reported that “the Trump administration had made expedited requests this week for paperwork needed to pardon the troops on or around Memorial Day.” Those troops include Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of the Navy SEALs, who has been accused of shooting unarmed civilians – including a young girl – and murdering a suspected Al Qaeda prisoner.
Now it’s come to light that the Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth has been lobbying the president to pardon Gallagher and two other alleged war criminals because it would be “heartening for guys like me and others in the service.”
— Splinter (@splinter_news) May 21, 2019
I was wondering where he was getting these beyond terrible ideas but this is not at all surprising
— hey you (@Whuthapndhere) May 21, 2019
Hegseth has defended the accused war criminals on air during his show, calling them “good guys” and making no secret of the fact that he believes they should be pardoned.
But he never disclosed that he was actively advising the president. The Daily Beast reported that Hegseth has been lobbying the president since as early as January to let Gallagher go to trial for his crimes, and sources say that since at least March Hegseth “has specifically advised Trump to pardon him and the other men.”
Fox News hosts: Trump’s move to pardon convicted and accused U.S. war criminals is "amazing" and will unite the country out of “a love of our military” pic.twitter.com/VVr8eZAy4c
— Media Matters (@mmfa) May 19, 2019
Trump is getting ready to pardon some of America’s most horrifying recent war criminals. A huge injustice to those whose lives they destroyed and a message that America will tolerate war crimes: https://t.co/2uBwqa6sDy pic.twitter.com/5TloLVJgXH
— Murtaza Mohammad Hussain (@MazMHussain) May 18, 2019
In March, Trump tweeted that “in honor of his past service to our Country, Gallagher would be “moved to less restrictive confinement” as he awaited his trial.
In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly! @foxandfriends @RepRalphNorman
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2019
The expedited paperwork suggests that the president is planning a full pardon on or around Memorial Day, a holiday that commemorates people who have died in the service of our country.
— VoteVets (@votevets) May 18, 2019
As a veteran I have to say that Trump choosing Memorial Day to pardon accused military war criminals is a desecration, not to mention deeply disturbing. https://t.co/NmOarCHZdf
— Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) May 18, 2019
Hegseth, himself a veteran, believes that Gallagher and others have been treated unfairly. “These guys make tough calls in moments for most people have never been a part of in their life,” Hegseth was quoted as saying, “and then folks in suits in Washington, D.C., they throw paper at them and accuse them of things.”
Trump has often shown support for Eddie Gallagher, who “shot a girl.. walking with other girls on the riverbank.” He stabbed a 15-year-old prisoner of war in the neck and chest, then texted pics of his “kill” to friends. https://t.co/cPLQ2hYwAK
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) May 13, 2019
Every single Trump supporting servicewoman and man I have spoken with about this says that if Trump pardons war criminals, he will lose their vote.
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) May 21, 2019
I LOVE our men and women who serve our country. When @realDonaldTrump talks about pardoning soldiers who turn on our values, he sends an awful message that it’s okay to break rank, abandon international conventions, and become the war criminals we fight. This is a bad precedent.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) May 21, 2019
Fox News shouldn’t have the president’s ear when it comes to pardoning criminals. Let them await trial before deciding their fate based on a news channel.