Navy Boss Says Skipper He Removed Was Naive, Stupid Or A Betrayer

Clay Curtis
April 8, 2020

Acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly offered his resignation after coming under fire for his handling of a crisis involving the captain of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier, US officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told the crew of U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt that their former captain Brett Crozier was either quote "stupid" or ill-willed for writing a scathing letter about the Navy's response to a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship.

That's according to US officials who spoke to Reuters.

In his apology Monday night, Modly said he believes Crozier is "smart and passionate".

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Modly said Crozier should have known his letter would leak to the media, allowing information about the ship's compromised condition to be published.

Modly made the blistering speech against the deposed skipper using the ship's PA system while it was docked in Guam.

Said Modly in his apology: "Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naïve nor stupid".

"The alternative is that he did it on goal", he added.

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Asked about the issue during his daily briefing on April 6, President Trump reiterated his previous position that the captain should not have sent the letter, but this time hinted that there could be some wiggle-room over his position.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday said that he backed Modly's decision.

Trump said Crozier had a good career prior to this incident, adding, "I don't want to destroy somebody for having a bad day".

Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Modly had fired Crozier against the advice of Navy military leaders.

Modly soon apologized after receiving heavy criticism, commenting, "I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid", and "I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused". "Sailors do not need to die", he wrote, requesting the quarantine of almost the entire crew. He showed a serious lack of the sound judgment and strong leadership needed ...

"I think, and always believed him to be the opposite", he said in a statement.

In particular, Modly has seemed out of touch as the Navy struggles to afford the scores of new ships it needs in the coming years in order to grow the fleet from today's 295 vessels to as many as 355.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Modly should be relived of command.

"The Secretary of the Navy and the entire Department of Defense should be focused on the health of our men and women in uniform, not closing ranks and slandering a good man who has served his nation honorably", the letter said.

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