Soon after the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt cheered its ousted captain as he departed the ship, the acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly called him out as “too naïve or too stupid.”
Capt. Brett Crozier was fired by Modly last week after he warned of a COVID-19 outbreak and the potentially deadly situation aboard the carrier, urging action in a letter to senior Navy leadership in Washington, D.C. But Modly criticized the 50-year-old captain and admonished the sailors who gave him a rousing farewell cheer.
(Source: Fox News)
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors,” Crozier had written in the letter which was revealed by San Francisco Chronicle reporter.
About 155 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt had tested positive for coronavirus, according to Navy officials. The Navy reportedly removed 1,800 of the crew of 5,000 from the ship, Fox News reported. Crozier, who had symptoms of the virus before being removed from the ship last week, was cheered by hundreds of sailors on the hangar deck of the ship as he left.
“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose.”
“Think about that when you cheer the man of the ship who exposed you to that…I understand you love the guy. It’s good that you love him. But you’re not required to love him,” Modly added, noting that the letter Crozier wrote and ended up in the press contained “sensitive information” about the aircraft carrier.
Crozier’s letter was a “betrayal of trust, with me, with his chain of command,” Modley told the remaining sailors in remarks that were broadcast over the ship’s PA system.
“It was a betrayal. And I can tell you one other thing: because he did that he put it in the public’s forum and it is now a big controversy in Washington, D.C.,” he said, according to Fox News.
Asked about the incident on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he supported Modly’s decision to fire Crozier.
“He shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” Trump said during the White House coronavirus briefing. “I thought it was terrible what he did.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke to CNN about Crozier’s removal, saying Modly made a “tough decision.”
CNN’s @JakeTapper presses Defense Sec. Esper on why Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was removed from his position before a completed investigation. Crozier was fired after writing a memo saying that crew needed help after the coronavirus hit his ship. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Oo1vdKdVYI
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 5, 2020
“It’s just another example of how we hold leaders accountable for their actions,” he told Jake Tapper on Sunday.
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