Trump says he’ll overturn ‘ridiculous’ gender-neutral Navy terms

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President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would overturn “ridiculous” decisions by two elite Navy units to make their ethos and creed statements gender-neutral.

“I will be overturning this ridiculous order immediately!” the president declared on Twitter after a pro-Trump account tweeted a link to a story about the recent moves by the Navy SEALs and the Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman program, or SWCC.

American Military News first reported that an update to the SEAL ethos was changing the wording in the clause “A common man with uncommon desire to succeed” to “Common citizens with uncommon desire to succeed.” The clause “I am that man” was updated to “I am that warrior.”

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Stroup, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command, told American Military News that the changes were made because women are now allowed to join the units.

“The previous versions of the SEAL Ethos and SWCC Creed were written prior to the law allowing women to serve as operators in Naval Special Warfare. The changes do not in any way reflect lowering standards of entry, rather they ensure that all those who meet the requirements to train to become a SEAL or SWCC are represented in the ethos or creed they live out,” Stroup told the site before the president’s tweet.

It wouldn’t be the first time Trump has overridden the SEALs’ brass on social media.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired last year after he balked at Trump’s Twitter directive to allow a SEAL who’d been accused of war crimes to retain the gold Trident insignia signifying his status as a member of the elite commando team.

The man, Eddie Gallagher, a decorated officer and 19-year veteran, was accused of fatally stabbing a young wounded fighter for the Islamic State militant group, posing for a picture with the corpse and shooting two civilians from a sniper’s perch in Iraq in 2017.

A military jury acquitted Gallagher of murder and war crimes charges in July 2019 but convicted him of having posed with the corpse of the teenage ISIS fighter. Consequently, he was demoted from chief petty office to petty officer first class. Trump also reversed the order, reinstating Gallagher as a chief petty officer.

CORRECTION (Oct. 1, 2020, 11 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when Eddie Gallagher was convicted of having posed with the corpse of a teenage ISIS fighter. He was convicted in July 2019, not this July.

Image: Dareh GregorianDareh Gregorian

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.

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