The U.S. Army is setting up another showdown over a pardon issued by President Trump to Major Matt Golsteyn. The Washington Post was the first to report, citing two different sources on the condition of anonymity within the Army, that Lieutenant General Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), had denied the request for reinstatement by retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn. This report was later confirmed by the Army.
Golsteyn was attempting to have both his Special Forces tab and a Silver Star medal reinstated following a pardon from President Trump. Golsteyn was facing charges for the alleged murder of a suspected Taliban bombmaker in Marja, Afghanistan, in February 2010.
The Army first opened an investigation into Golsteyn after he disclosed the killing during a 2011 CIA issued polygraph test as he applied for a position there. Resultantly, in 2014, the Army revoked his SF tab and Silver Star award and issued a reprimand. Then, they charged Golsteyn with murder in 2018.
Golsteyn admitted to killing the Taliban bombmaker but initially claimed that it had taken place during an ambush. He later claimed that the man’s body was burned to prevent the spread of disease.
Golsteyn was slated to undergo a court-martial for murder later this year, but the President stepped in and issued him a pardon. President Trump also pardoned former 1st Lt. Clint Lorrance, who had been convicted of the murder of Taliban bombmakers. Furthermore, the President ordered the Navy to reinstate Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s rank and Trident after he was found not guilty in a Navy court-martial for the killing of a wounded ISIS fighter.
Golsteyn and his lawyer Phil Stackhouse learned of the Army’s decision from the Washington Post story. The Army emailed them after the Post’s story broke. Golsteyn made a quick comment on the decision stating that he was disappointed with it. “I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised,” Golsteyn said. “I was really hoping they would do the right thing.”
However, the decision by LTG Beaudette is not final: and the Army released a statement that it will convene an administrative panel to consider whether it should reinstate the Special Forces Tab and Silver Star and whether to expunge the letter of reprimand that Golsteyn had received.
Beaudette’s decision mirrors the case of Gallagher, in which the Navy refused to abide by the insistence of the president to reinstate Gallagher’s Trident and his rank of Chief Petty Officer. The Navy’s refusal led to the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spenser.