Acting Navy secretary slams fired aircraft carrier captain as 'stupid' in remarks to crew: report

 

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly reportedly told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that former commander Capt. Brett Crozier was “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of the aircraft carrier where the coronavirus recently spread among sailors.

Crozier was fired after sending a letter to more than 20 people warning about the coronavirus outbreak on the vessel.

Modly, in remarks broadcast through the Roosevelt’s PA system, suggested that Crozier may have deliberately leaked the letter to the media.

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"If he didn't think, in my opinion, that this information wasn't going to get out to 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, according to a transcript first obtained by the Daily Caller. "The alternative is that he did this on purpose."

"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.," Modly added.

Task and Purpose also posted audio of Modly's remarks.

The Hill has reached out to the Navy for comment.

More than 170 crew members of the ship have tested positive for the virus, and Crozier reportedly has as well. A Navy spokesperson previously told The Hill that the military branch could not comment on the matter due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE have both defended Crozier’s firing, with the president saying Saturday that Crozier “shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter.” Esper said the following day that the firing was “an example of how we hold our leaders accountable.”

Video footage has emerged of sailors on the aircraft carrier applauding Crozier as he disembarked after his dismissal, and Tweed Roosevelt, the great-grandson of the vessel’s namesake, called Crozier a “hero” in a New York Times op-ed Friday.

--This report was updated at 12:27 p.m.