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Collins: Fired U.S. Navy Secretary 'One Of The Finest Public Servants I Have Ever Known'

J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is surrounded by reporters as she heads to vote at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is lamenting the firing of U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. In a tweet sent Sunday, the Republican said Spencer's departure is "a great loss."

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper asked on Sunday for Spencer's resignation. Pentagon officials say Esper lost confidence in Spencer over how he handled Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher's case. Gallagher was accused of committing war crimes in 2017, acquitted of murder, but convicted of posing with a prisoner's corpse while serving as a Navy SEAL.

Esper says Spencer suggested to the White House he could ensure that Gallagher could retire as a Navy SEAL if the White House did not interfere in a review board of Gallagher.

Spencer's intention to hold a review board conflicted with the Trump administration's intervention in the case in support of Gallagher.

Collins applauded Spencer's service on twitter after his resignation, calling him "one of the finest public servants I have ever known."

Originally published Nov. 5, 2019 at 7:02 a.m. ET.