Edward Gallagher Launches 'Lifestyle Brand' To Keep Other Psychotics Looking Stylish
The New York Times had a profile this week about how convicted war criminal Edward Gallagher is now living his best, repulsive life. The former Navy SEAL platoon leader's own men claimed he shot at random civilians in Iraq and stabbed a wounded teenage prisoner to death. He walked on those charges, but he was convicted for taking trophy photos with the teenager's corpse like a "Criminal Minds" unsub. He was demoted, which was a paltry punishment for a murderer. Impeached president Donald Trump restored his rank and has since held him up as an example to psychopaths everywhere.
Gallagher is now grossly cashing in on his "newfound fame." He's refashioned himself as a "conservative influencer." He's hanging out at Trump's "Southern White House," Mar-a-Lago. He even has his own "lifestyle brand," pitching coffee beans and protein shakes. On Instagram, he regularly kisses the ass of his benefactor. There's one photo of Gallagher giving a thumb's-up while holding a coffee mug that reads "I Love When I Wake Up In The Morning And Donald Trump Is President."
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, doesn't care much for Gallagher, but he confesses that he's an ideal leading man for the deranged B-movie playing inside Trump's head.
RIECKHOFF: Trump is a master of casting, and Gallagher is a perfect fit. He's handsome, he's heroic, he's got a beautiful wife. He's a Rambo version of the same story Trump has been telling over and over: The deep state is trying to screw you, the media is bad, and the rich people don't understand you. But I'll stick up for you.
Gallagher has a new apparel line called "Salty Frog Gear." He describes it as a "coastal lifestyle brand with an edge," because we guess (allegedly) killing people in cold blood is "edgy." Salty Frog is like a psychotic Simply Southern or Vineyard Vines, both of which are real things. He also shamelessly pushes crap on his Instagram page. This includes merchandise from right-wing veteran groups that the Times adorably says "push a distinct brand of patriotism." This "patriotism" involves multiple items with the logo "KILL BAD DUDES" and a "Waterboarding Instructor" shirt. (Waterboarding is torture.)
The promotional material for Salty Frog boasts that "brotherhood isn't just a statement, it's a way of life." Gallagher's own "brothers" accused him of war crimes, and he now mocks the brave SEALS who testified against him. He and his wife sell t-shirts online that call his accusers "mean girls." That's a "distinct brand" of patriotic bullshit that disparages actual war heroes. It's right up Trump's alley.
Gallagher is also reportedly writing a book about his disgraceful career, and we don't know where he got the idea that there's a market for stories that humanize white men who gleefully kill people.
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The Times notes that Gallagher isn't the first SEAL to cash in on his past, but -- wait for it -- Gallagher is the first to do so after a war crime court martial. Why, it's like those are two separate things -- one fairly normal, the other obscene. Hulu has a documentary about the SEALs who testified against Gallagher. These are decent people clearly traumatized by what they witnessed. Some of them can't even get through an interview without breaking into tears.
"The guy is freaking evil," Special Operator [Craig] Miller told investigators. "The guy was toxic," Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. "You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving," Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators.
Gallagher is a piece of garbage. This we all know. But the Americans who'll willingly and happily make him rich also deserve our scorn.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.