Defense Secretary Mark Esper asked for Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to resign Sunday, citing Spencer's handling of a SEAL war crimes case.
According to the Department of Defense, Esper had recently learned that Spencer had "previously and privately" proposed to the White House that the rank of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher be restored and that he be allowed to retire with his Trident pin, which signifies his membership in the SEALs.
Having never informed him of this proposal, Esper said in a statement, "unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position."
In July, Gallagher was acquitted of war crimes and the murder of an ISIS prisoner, but was found guilty of posing for pictures with the prisoner's dead body. He was sentenced to four months' confinement as well as a demotion in rank.
In his resignation letter, Spencer cited a difference in understanding between President Trump and himself on "the key principle of good order and discipline" as the reason for his removal.
Spencer said, "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."
However on Twitter Sunday night, President Trump said the reason Spencer was being dismissed was in response to how Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy and "large cost overruns" in the Navy.
Current U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite will replace Spencer, according to Department of Defense and President Trump.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.