Tammy Duckworth calls on acting Navy secretary to resign

Tammy Duckworth calls on acting Navy secretary to resign
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Trump stokes backlash with threat to use military against protesters Biden unveils disability rights plan: 'Your voices must be heard' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 LuriaGun control group rolls out House endorsements The Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 House GOP lawmaker breaks with party to back proxy voting MORE (Va.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu responds to viral video: 'Costco has a right to require that customers wear a mask' Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments California Democrat blasts Huntington Beach protesters: They 'undoubtedly spread the virus' 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.