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Former Navy secretary ousted by Trump endorses Mike Bloomberg

Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer announced he's endorsing Mike Bloomberg for president, making him the first Trump appointee to back the ex-New York mayor. Spencer, who was ousted job last year because he objected to Mr. Trump's intervention in the military's internal review of controversial Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, offered words of praise for Bloomberg and an implicit rebuke of the president. 

He said Bloomberg, as president, would defend the Constitution. He said Bloomberg would "uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice" and "honor the service and ensure the equal treatment of all women and men in uniform." Spencer also said Bloomberg would "respect the advice of military advisers."

In his November 2019 resignation letter (which was preempted by his firing), Spencer had told the president, "I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took." The Constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice "are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all," he wrote. He went on to say he had "strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent."

Spencer said in his endorsement of Bloomberg that he "has a smart, much-needed plan to help veterans transition to civilian life," and will "connect veterans and military families to the employment, education, and health care services and support they deserve." 

He planned to join Bloomberg at an event in Norfolk, Virginia Friday, where Bloomberg was to present a plan to help veterans, and where he formally entered the race in November. 

Tim Perry contributed to this report.

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