President Trump boasted at his Florida rally on Tuesday night of taking a stand against the “Deep State” by pardoning accused and convicted war criminals, apparently taking a thinly veiled jab at the military leadership he overruled to issue the pardons.
“Just this week, I stuck up for three great warriors against the Deep State,” the president exclaimed in Sunrise, Florida. “You know what I’m talking about. I had so many people say, ‘Sir, I don’t think you should do that.’”
Trump appeared to be referencing the backlash he faced from military leaders over the pardons he issued to Clint Lorance and Matthew Golsteyn and his reversal of the demotion of Eddie Gallagher, actions that eventually resulted in the termination of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.
“People have to fight,” the president continued. “They shouldn’t say, gee whiz. They wanted to put him in jail for 25 years. One young man was in jail for seven years. He had 16 years to go.”
After mentioning Lorance’s jail sentence for the murder of unarmed Afghan civilians, Trump told the audience that “when you look at what they did to that man, you would have been very proud at what we ended up doing.”
“He came out and he hugged his parents,” the president added. “It was a beautiful thing. I will always stick up for our great fighters.”
Trump concluded by taking another shot at military leadership, declaring that “people can sit in air-conditioned offices and complain, but it doesn’t matter to me.”
The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that the president has been telling his allies he wants to bring the pardoned war criminals out on the campaign trail with him as special guests.