An Army lieutenant who was recently pardoned by President Donald Trump is offering words of thankfulness toward the president.
On Friday, the president granted full pardons to two Army officers who were convicted or accused of war crimes — 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, as IJR previously reported. Additionally, Trump restored Special Warfare Operator First Class Eddie Gallagher’s rank.
Lorance was convicted of several charges in 2013 after a 2012 incident in Afghanistan where two men on motorcycles were killed. He spent six years of a 19-year sentence in prison.
“Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, one of two U.S. Army officers granted clemency Friday by POTUS Trump, was released from prison in Kansas on Friday night & reunited w/ family members.” ➡️https://t.co/SjeGn8CnoP— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) November 16, 2019
Below, Clint reunites w/ family, after 6yrs (19yr sentence) in prison. pic.twitter.com/dpoSwanojS
Lorance spoke out in his first interview on Monday during a Fox News interview, where he described the moment he learned about being pardoned. During the interview, he also delivered a message to Trump.
“I love you, sir,” he said, adding, “You are awesome.”
“I will say this, Mr. President, I wish you had a better team around you. You need more people watching your back. And I think you don’t have a lot of that, and that is absolutely unfortunate and that infuriates me to no end. The American people elected you, and my thing is, if you are working in the White House or if you are working in the United States government and you don’t agree with something the president does, then go home.”
Watch the video below:
Golsteyn was charged in 2018 for killing a man in Afghanistan described as a “terrorist bombmaker” in a statement from the White House press secretary.
Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader, was accused of war crimes in 2017 in Iraq, but was acquitted in July of 2019. Though acquitted for the murder of an Islamic State fighter, Gallagher was demoted in rank and pay.
Gallagher also appeared on Fox News on Sunday, where he shared how “surreal” it was to receive the call from the White House.
“I had a feeling it was coming because, you know, the president has shown the nation that he’s been a man of his word this whole time since he took office,” Gallagher said. “It was overwhelming, it was a feeling of joy and gratitude to be able to speak to him and to hear what the decision that he was making from his mouth.”
See Gallagher’s comments below:
Trump’s pardons receive mixed reactions
Several 2020 Democratic primary contenders criticized the president’s move, including Bernie Sanders, who called it “wrong and disrespectful to those serving honorably” and said, “It makes us less safe.”
Biden added, “[Trump] is not fit to command our troops.”
“There’s nothing pro-military about overruling our military justice system to prevent it from delivering accountability for war crimes,” 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg, who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, tweeted. “The president has again dishonored our armed services.”
“I think our troops’ morale is much higher — troops that I’ve heard from — because this has been a concern,” the Republican lawmaker said, adding, “I’ve heard from our men and women in uniform for years that they felt that they were sidelined because they needed a team of attorneys before they could return fire in the battlefield.”