Schumer praises former Navy chief after ouster

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.) expressed support for ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday following his firing by Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief defends Milley after Trump book criticism | Addresses critical race theory | Top general says Taliban has 'strategic momentum' in war The Biden administration and Tunisia: Off to a good start Overnight Defense: Navy pulls plug on 0 million railgun effort | Esper defends Milley after Trump attacks | Navy vet charged in Jan. 6 riot wants trial moved MORE.

In a statement, the senator praised Spencer for "standing up to President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE when he was wrong" after Spencer blamed his firing on his refusal to follow an order from Trump that he morally opposed.

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“I just spoke to former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. I told him he’s a patriot, that he served the Navy and the nation well and he will be missed," Schumer said in the statement.

"Secretary Spencer did the right thing and he should be proud of standing up to President Trump when he was wrong, something too many in this administration and the Republican Party are scared to do. Good order, discipline, and morale among the Armed Services must transcend politics, and Secretary Spencer’s commitment to these principles will not be forgotten.”

Trump blamed Spencer's firing Sunday evening on failures to cut costs while secretary of the Navy as well as the president's displeasure with the Navy's handling of the war crimes trial of SEAL Eddie Gallagher in a series of tweets while thanking him for his "service and commitment'

"I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction. Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper," he tweeted.

Trump and Spencer's explanations both clashed with that of Spencer, who said in a lengthy statement that he disagreed with the commander in chief on the issue of the rule of law and had refused to follow an order that he felt violated his oath of office.

"I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag, and my faith," Spencer said.

Kenneth Braithwaite, the administration's current ambassador to Norway, will be Trump's nominee to replace Spencer, the president added in his tweets.

"Admiral and now Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite will be nominated by me to be the new Secretary of the Navy. A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!" the president tweeted.