President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to share his congratulations to a Navy SEAL found not guilty of war crimes, including murder, The Hill reported.
The president’s message was directed toward Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was recently found not guilty of murdering an ISIS captive and the attempted murder of Iraqi citizens, per The Hill report.
“Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family,” Trump said on Twitter. “You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”
In March, Trump ordered that Gallagher be released from pre-trial confinement.
The Navy SEAL was reported to authorities in 2018 by members of his own platoon, who claimed he shot at Iraqi civilians in 2017 and killed an ISIS captive with a hunting knife.
Gallagher was found not guilty Tuesday of nearly all charges, including pre-empted murder of the ISIS captive, CNN reported. But the jury, which consisted of seven soldiers, did find the decorated Navy SEAL guilty of taking a photo with the 12-year-old ISIS member, a crime with a maximum sentence of four months, per CNN.
Navy prosecutors argued that Gallagher took the photo with the ISIS fighter after stabbing him, while he was being treated by U.S. medics, according to CNN. Gallagher’s defense never disputed the fact that he took the photo or that he texted it to a friend alongside a message reading “good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife,” CNN wrote.
People on Twitter were quick to react to the president’s well-wishes.
One user seemed exasperated, tweeting, “whatever.”
Eddie Gallagher was acquitted on the stabbing but was found guilty for posing with a dead 12 year-old child soldier.
But yeah, let’s celebrate war crimes this 4th of July, whatever.
— Santa Claus, CEO (@SantaInc) July 3, 2019
Another user wondered if the president would give Gallagher a cabinet position after his acquittal.
He killed a 15-year-old and posed with the dead body, so of course you defend him.
What next? Giving him a cabinet position? https://t.co/hcBaFCrWhU
— D Villella ❄️ (@dvillella) July 3, 2019
Others wondered if Trump’s tweet was an admission that he tampered with a criminal trial.
“Glad I could help”?
Did the President of the United States just admit that he interfered in a criminal trial?
— Christopher Jasinski (@analyticswonk) July 3, 2019
Still, some supported the president. One user told another on Twitter to “be nice” to Trump.
Gallagher was put in solitary confinement, was held without legal council and his family while waiting trial. Trump stepped in and got him out of the brig.. be nice, he did a good thing
— jerry (@21_iozzo) July 3, 2019
In May, the president said he was considering pardoning the Navy SEAL and had requested documents on the case. At the time, Trump said he believed that soldiers were often treated “very unfairly.” Former military officials and U.S. veterans urged Trump not to pardon Gallagher over fears it would give other nations the idea that the U.S. was not interested in upholding the law in combat zones, per The Hill.
Gallagher was expected to be released from custody Tuesday, as he already served his maximum four-month sentence during pre-trial confinement, Axios reported.