Prior to MAGA Trump supporters raising more than $2 million to help with his legal costs, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller publicly denounced help from the former president and his son, saying he would “rather sit in jail” than accept their support.
Scheller became a household name among conservatives this past August when he publicly criticized the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan while demanding accountability from senior leadership. Immediately after his post went viral, Scheller was fired after 17 years of service. Last week, a Marine Corps spokesperson confirmed that Scheller was placed in military jail as he waits for a preliminary hearing.
Less than a week after Scheller’s arrest, the Pipe Hitter Foundation set up a fundraiser for the Marine and amassed over $2 million. As Insider noted, the foundation is “run by former Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted in 2019 after posing with the dead body of an ISIS captive” until Trump granted him clemency in November 2020.
Prior to his arrest, Scheller issued a lengthy post on Facebook in which he criticized various political and military figures, including former President Trump and Gen. Michael Flynn:
President Trump. I was told by everyone to kiss the ring because of your following and power. I refuse. While I respect your foreign policy positions, I hate how you divided the country. I don’t need or want your help. You do not have the ability to pull US together. You may even win the next election. But your generation’s time is running out. Tell your son to stop tweeting about me. Your whole family knows nothing about US or our sacrifices. I could never work with you. I’d rather sit in jail and be released with a dishonorable than make compromises in my beliefs.
In the same post, Scheller criticized former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. He also scolded Generals Michael Flynn, David Petraeus, and James Mattis.
The following day, Scheller clarified that he did not mean to say that former President Trump divided the nation himself, only that he “is incapable of bringing us back together”:
I’ve had such a strong reaction to my comments against President Trump I felt a follow up clarification was required. No, President Trump didn’t divide the country. But President Trump, in my humble opinion, is incapable of bringing us back together. Did he expose the corruption in the DOJ, media, and other places… yes. Was he the right person to expose the corruption at that time… maybe. Is he honest, accountable, and full of integrity… no. Would I want to work for a leader like that… no. I want a leader that will bring US together. Someone who has the courage to defend our country when called. My sons deserve that type of leader running the country in the future. That type of person is the only leader who I want in my corner. I respect all opinions. I’m not asking you to agree with me, but to at least consider my perspective. Much love.
Regardless of Scheller’s views on former President Trump, Republicans and Trump supporters have continued to support him and call for his release.