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MSNBC confuses ex-Trump navy secretary for infamous white supremacist

Photo by Josh Billlinson via Twitter
Photo by Josh Billlinson via Twitter

There were two Richard Spencers who made headlines in November.

One, a now-former navy secretary who was fired for his resistance against President Trump’s intervention in a war crimes case, and the other a white supremacist who was once again caught ranting about Jewish and black people.  

The two Spencers were confused in a graphic on MSNBC Sunday during a morning segment about former Navy Secretary Spencer, who shortly after his ousting last week, penned a Washington Post op-ed detailing Trump’s interference in the case of Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, a member of the elite Navy SEALs who was accused of war crimes. An image of white nationalist Spencer, was accidentally shown in place of the former military leader. 

Host Joy-Ann Reid issued “a very big correction” on-air for the mistake, saying, “Earlier in the segment as we were talking about former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, we mistakenly showed the wrong image of white supremacist Richard Spencer. Very deeply sorry for that mistake.” 

White nationalist Spencer, 41, responded to the mistake, saying on Twitter, “On some deep, unconscious level, America wants me to be in charge of the U.S. Navy.”

Spencer had organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of a young woman, Heather Heyer, in 2017. The leaked audio rant reportedly came a day after the deadly “alt-right” event. 

It was around that time, Spencer, 65, began his two-year tenure as Navy Secretary before being fired by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Trump defended the ouster, saying last Wednesday, “I have to protect my warfighters.”

Trump sought to ensure Gallagher, facing a demotion, would keep his Trident pin that signifies SEAL status despite Spencer’s support for the Navy conducting a review board to assess Gallagher’s war-time actions. The Pentagon said Spencer’s effort prompted Esper to ask for his resignation because of a “lack of candor.” 

As Spencer detailed in his op-ed, he on separate accounts throughout the case “pushed back” against the president’s involvement, which he said was evident from the start. 

“This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review,” Spencer wrote. “It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images); White nationalist Richard Spencer (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images); White nationalist Richard Spencer (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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