Last week, Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher’s appeared on Fox & Friends for an exclusive interview:
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PETE HEGSETH, FOX & FRIENDS: That’s right guys, thank you very much. Well let’s right now bring in for his first exclusive interview, Navy Seal Operation Chief Eddie Gallagher, his wife Andrea and attorney Tim Parlatore.
Thank you all for joining us this morning. A much happier group with some certainty in front of you this morning, I have no doubt. Eddie I want to – I want to start with you. For so long Americans have seen your picture, they know your story.
But they haven’t heard from you. Eddie, as a decorated Navy SEAL now found not guilty, what is your message to America this morning?
EDDIE GALLAGHER, NAVY SEAL CHIEF: I just want to say that I feel completely grateful and blessed to have the support that I had this whole time from the – from the country and from all the troops around – you know, around the country.
And I want to say thank you to you, Fox News, to you guys, Pete, for being with us from day one. You guys backed us from the beginning and I want to – especially want to say thank you to Congressman Duncan Hunter and Congressman Ralph Norman and also to President Trump for intervening when he did.
HEGSETH: He did, people – we’ll remind our audience that when you were in certain confinement, President Trump stepped in, made sure you were released before your trial with an opportunity to prepare.
You know, when I – when I was preparing to talk to you guys this morning, so many of the articles say this is a war crimes trial, you’re – you’ve been – you’ve been called a war criminal.
Did that frame you, Eddie as a bad guy from the beginning? How have you tried to overcome that?
E. GALLAGHER: Yes, I mean I believe, you know, they tried to frame me as a criminal from the get go. But, you know, we knew the truth the whole time, we – we knew I was innocent of these charges the whole time and I overcame it by having my strong wife with me the whole time and my legal team —
HEGSETH: Eddie you’ve been –
E. GALLAGHER: — fighting for me.
HEGSETH: Absolutely and we’re get to Andrea and Tim for sure. Eddie I want to stick with you for a second. You’ve been described as a demanding chief, pushing young SEALs some would say too far, they would – they felt like, in some cases.
It’s pretty rare for some SEALs to testify against someone they served with, but you overcame that. Just talk to us about that accusation of some of the guys you’ve served with.
E. GALLAGHER: Can you say that again, I’m sorry.
HEGSETH: No, just, your fellow SEALs, some of which testified against your or originally brought charges, how do you manage the perception that that’s not something that often happens?
E. GALLAGHER: No…
TIM PARLATORE, ATTORNEY: There’s a little bit of a problem with the audio.
E. GALLAGHER: Yes, sorry.
ANDREA GALLAGHER, WIFE: We can’t hear that well.
HEGSETH: You’re not hearing that?
PARLATORE: And that’s always been a problem – yes I think that what you’re asking about is overcoming the issue of his fellow SEALs and members of his platoon being the ones that testified against him.
And you know, that’s always been a problem for us and, you know, we had to make sure that we showed the jury not only that the story wasn’t true, but also to explain to them why they would have the motivation to do this because, you know, the SEAL – SEAL teams are a famously close brotherhood and yet what you’ve seen today is with a lot of these teams there’s a certain generation of SEALs that don’t really fit into that traditional motion of brotherhood.
There was – you know, during certain periods of time when they relaxed standards and had a large influx of people into the community. And so they – they weren’t up to Eddie Gallagher standards so that caused some friction and they decided to do something that I’m sure that they now regret.
HEGSETH: Absolutely, in fact I’ll see on that – go ahead Eddie.
E. GALLAGHER: And I just want to make – make clear that this – this small group of SEALs that decided to concoct this story in no way, shape or form represent the community that I’ve, you know, loved and gave my soul to.
So this has put a black eye on the – this community, but I want the nation to know that this is not what our community is about, this community is full of of elite warriors that I’ve been honored and blessed to work with for the past 20 years and I — I thank everybody that’s still serving this community.
HEGSETH: Well, and — and we thank you. Another name that came up, speaking of SEALs, is Cory Scott, the medic, who admitted on the stand to ultimately expiring that ISIS fighter. Did you know that he would say that, Eddie?
E. GALLAGHER: I’ll let you answer that, Tim.
PARLATORE: Yes, it was something that I suspected, based on some of our preliminary investigations and interviews before the trial. He never came out and told us before hand. He did use the word asphyxiate and then he wouldn’t — wouldn’t expand on it.
So, it wasn’t really until the middle of the trial, during his direct examination when the prosecutor asked him what happened next and he said I stayed with him until he asphyxiated.
And, yes, the prosecutor went completely over his head, but at that moment I punched Eddie in the leg and I said, we’ve got him. And — And I just — I felt right then that if I went into it he would admit to it. And sure enough, he did.
HEGSETH: Eddie what — Eddie, what did that moment feel like, right there in the courtroom?
E. GALLAGHER: It was shocking, but this whole thing has been shocking. So, at that point, nothing was surprising me. You know, I think Tim said it from the get-go, everyday there’s something new, expect the unexpected.
HEGSETH: Yeah. Andrea, you have been by Eddie’s side this entire time going through this ordeal. Your reaction to this verdict and walking out of that courtroom as a free couple?
A. GALLAGHER: It was definitely a very surreal moment, to finally have what I ultimately envisioned, if justice was to be served would happen. So, that was a huge moment for us and just to see that now everyone in the country is able to see what we’ve seen all along, which is my husband is a hero.
Our family was terrorized and we’ve overcome it and we’re better because of it. Because we went into this and we gave everything, myself, my brother-in-law, our legal team, and my husband, especially. So, we overcame this and we’re going to continue to make sure that this does not happen again to warriors in this country.
HEGSETH: I mean, not to mention 19 years of service, eight overseas deployments, you also have kids, talk to us, Eddie and Andrea, about your children. How are they doing pulling through this? How do you explain this to them as well?
A. GALLAGHER: The — yeah, well it’s unexplainable. I mean to have a person like my husband that’s dedicated since he’s a teenager, his entire adult life to fighting the war on terror, two decades of service, every single battle front, every single enemy of the United States.
Our children grew up with FaceTiming their father, having him gone, either working up or deploying to the most dangerous battle zones in the country and then at the height of his career, after being awarded number one chief, number one platoon, he’s then just almost discarded and thrown away.
It — it’s just incomprehensible what our children have had to face, what they’ve had to go through, how they’ve had to see their father in jail. They were separated him most of his life because of his dedication to service and this country, and then to be separated from him because he served nearly ten months in some form of confinement before his date in court.
It’s just — it’s really hard to put words to and our children are resilient, our children are amazing, amazing individuals and we’re just thankful to have him home and we’re looking forward to making up lost time.
HEGSETH: Eddie you’ve worn the uniform, as I mentioned, for 19 years, deployed multiple — you’ve stared down ISIS on the battlefield, did things that people can’t even imagine. Would you do it all over again, knowing what’s been done to you in this process?
E. GALLAGHER: I would Pete. I wouldn’t give back my — the 20 years that I’ve done. I’ve been able to serve with some of the most honorable men. I’ve had to watch my friends be buried in the ground. No, I — I wouldn’t give back my past 20 years for anything and I would do it again. And I would continue to do it if I could.
HEGSETH: Eddie, we’re — it’s ironic your freedom day is America’s freedom day, pretty close. What — what are your plans for the fourth? I mean, generally, what’s next? I’m sure you were in a tunnel focused on proving your innocence. What comes next for you?
E. GALLAGHER: Next is just spending as much time as I can with my family and friends and all the people that supported me. You know, I plan on just doing what every American should be doing on the Fourth of July – barbequing, having beers, and watching the fireworks.
HEGSETH: Sounds like a good plan for sure. Tim – Tim, the trial isn’t technically over. Just briefly update our audience. What could come next? There’s one charge still pending. How does this close out?
PALATORE: Sure. He was convicted of a single charge which was taking a photo with the dead terrorist. Even thought the entire platoon was in the photo, the only person that was charged with that was Eddie Gallagher. So we have sentencing on that later this morning, and we’re hopeful that that’ll all work out just fine. I mean, the maximum sentence on that is – well, he’s already served more than two and a half times the amount of the sentence that they could possibly give him, so it’s somewhat anticlimactic if you will, but we’re going to go through that later today and, you know, it is still a serious issue because it could effect his retirement. And so, we want to get that done and then hopefully by the end of today this will all be behind us and we can go – you know, go talk to Naval Special Warfare Group 1 about what happens next, where does he go, and how do we transition from here and, you know, then get him – get him into his new, normal life.
HEGSETH: A new normal. Eddie, what’s your message briefly to future Navy SEALs? Guys who would wear that trident, who would go do the things you’ve done, are we giving them rules of engagement? Are we empowering the way we need to go to defeat our enemies?
E. GALLAGHER: I have to say – so on rules of engagement, I’m not going to speak on rules of engagement or anything like that overseas.
E. GALLAGHER: I’m going to leave that to the people that are fighting the fight over there. And the rules of engagement are there, but I would say to future Navy SEALs, you know, loyalty is a trait that seems to be lost, and I would say bring that back. You’re part of a brotherhood. Remember, you’re there to watch your brother’s back. He’s there to watch your back, and just stay loyal.
PARLATORE: Loyalty and honesty.
E. GALLAGHER: And honesty.
HEGSETH: Andrea, you’ve been a powerful voice in this, as well as Eddie’s brother, Sean. And Andrea, what is – you talk about the next step, the next chapter, helping folks like – what have you learned – helping folks like your husband. What have you learned in this process that you hope to do to, you know, wake Americans up to this challenge of war fighters being thrown under the bus?
A. GALLAGHER: Yes, there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done. I’ve always said that, you know, we’ve seen behind a curtain that we honestly never knew existed in this system. We’ve compared this and called this a travesty of justice. I still firmly believe that God called us to this so that we could help and effect change for countless, countless service members who have been basically done a huge disservice by this system.
So, you know, we’re going to definitely close this chapter, take some time together, and then we’re going to continue to fight for the warriors of this country and make sure that we’re keeping America great and that we’re not betraying our war heroes after they go to fight for us. And we need to fight for them, and that’s what we’re going to keep doing.
HEGSETH: Absolutely. Well, thank you very much for getting up early this morning in San Diego. I know you still have to head to court this morning. Tim, you’ve still got some on your docket. I just want to thank you, Andrea and Eddie, for your commitment to this nation, Eddie, for your service to your country and the opportunity to have that next chapter. You have stood strong admist a lot of powerful forces. Thank you all for joining us on Fox and Friends this morning. We really appreciate it.
A. GALLAGHER: Thanks, Pete.
E. GALLAGHER: Thanks, Pete.
PARLATORE: Thank you.
HEGSETH: Thank you guys. Thank you.Don't forget to Like Godfather Politics on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com on Instagram.