President Donald Trump is thinking about campaigning with a few accused war criminals he has defended publicly, according to a report from The Daily Beast. And it looks like the positive feelings might be mutual.
According to the report, Trump wants Clint Lorance, Matthew Golsteyn, or Edward Gallagher, three accused or convicted war criminals, to start showing up at campaign events with him. Many in the right-wing media have cheered Trump’s defense of the men, saying they were being attacked by politically correct liberals.
“He briefly discussed making it a big deal at the convention,” one of the sources told The Daily Beast. “The president made a reference to the 2016 [convention] and where they brought on-stage heroes.”
Since news of that story broke, two of the three men have expressed mutual support for Trump. Gallagher’s lawyer Tim Parlatore told the Washington Examiner that “of course” Gallagher would endorse Trump if he asked.
“If asked, of course, Eddie would endorse the president,” Parlatore said. “There can be no stronger testimonial for an elected official than one of their constituents whose life has been helped significantly by that elected official.”
And on Twitter, Lorance reacted to The Daily Beast story by saying he would fight for Trump.
Gallagher, among other things, was accused of murdering a teenager who was in the care of a medic and posing for a photo with his dead body. He was later acquitted on all the charges except posing with the corpse. His case became a national story and resurfaced again this week when Trump stepped in to restore Gallaghers Trident pin, recognition of his status as a Navy SEAL, which the Navy had taken from him. Trump later fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over the disagreement.
Lorance is a former Army Lieutenant who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for murder after he told fellow soldiers to gun down three unarmed Afghan men. Two were killed. Lorance was released on November 15. Golsteyn is a Green Beret who is set to stand trial next month for murdering an unarmed Afghan man who was a suspected terrorist bomb maker.
The case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House. Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill! @PeteHegseth— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019
Each man has become a mini-celebrity of sorts, backed by feverish media defenses from people who think they have been unjustly smeared for their efforts fighting a savage enemy. All three men are divisive figures in the military, though, with plenty of servicemen who believe they have dishonored America and disgraced their oath as soldiers.
It’s unclear when or how Trump might involve any of the three men in his campaign for 2020, but the idea alone is getting a lot of attention. The men would presumably join Trump as a sign of the president’s support and commitment to defending the military.