Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' MORE (Ill.) on Tuesday became the latest Democrat to call on acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to resign, as criticism mounts over his firing of a captain who raised the alarm about coronavirus spreading on an aircraft carrier.
Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, who led the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam, was dismissed last week after sending a letter pleading for permission to relieve his crew, dozens of whom tested positive for COVID-19. The letter was ultimately leaked to media, prompting his removal.
“I can reach no other conclusion than this situation has overwhelmed [Modly's] ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed most. We do, and we should, expect more from those in charge of our Armed Forces, and Acting Secretary Modly must resign immediately,” Duckworth, a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
Duckworth’s remarks appeared to be a play on Modly’s statement from last week, when he said: “I could reach no other conclusion than that Captain Crozier had allowed the complexity of his challenge with the COVID outbreak on his ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally, when acting professionally was what was needed most at the time. We do, and we should, expect more from the Commanding Officers of our aircraft carriers.”
On Monday, audio was released of Modly calling Crozier "naive" and "stupid" in remarks to the aircraft carrier's crew. He later apologized to Crozier and crew members.
Duckworth joins several Democratic lawmakers and other veterans — such as Rep. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaAbortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats Group aligned with House GOP leadership targeting nine Democrats on spending vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda MORE (Va.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized With Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps Hamlin opens up on playing anthrax-era Tom Brokaw MORE (Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) — in calling for Modly's resignation.
Democrats are also pressing the Pentagon for more details. On Tuesday, a House subcommittee chairman announced that he has asked the Pentagon for documents related to the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Roosevelt.