Navy Leader Attacks "Stupid" Captain Fired Over COVID-19

07 Avril, 2020, 03:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Acting Navy Secretary Rips Fired Captain As ‘Too Naive Or Too Stupid’ in Leaked Speech to Ship’s Crew

The controversy surrounding the exit of Capt. Brett Crozier was amplified on Monday when acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told the sailors aboard the ship that the captain was "naive" or "stupid" to think the letter would not leak.

NPR has obtained an audio recording of Modly's remarks.

Much of the diatribe delivered by the Navy's top civilian to the ship's audibly grumbling crew was a condemnation of a March 30 letter Crozier emailed to his superior officials.

Modly acknowledged the crew's anger at him.

The president, boasting that he was "good at settling arguments", said he had "heard very good things about both gentlemen", referencing Crozier and Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly.

Crozier departed the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier to raucous cheers from his crew last week after being fired by Modly for raising the alarm on the spread of the coronavirus on the ship. But aboard the Roosevelt, the acting navy secretary painted a more damning portrait of the sacked commander's alleged intentions. And I'm going to tell you something, all of you, there is never a situation where you should consider the media a part of your chain of command.

Crozier's crew members showed their disapproval of Modly's decision by posting videos online last week of their captain's emotional sendoff. His predecessor Richard Spencer, resigned amid a dispute with Trump.

He called for "decisive action": removing more than 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them, and wrote that unless the Navy acted immediately it would be failing to properly safeguard "our most trusted asset - our sailors". "If this ship was in combat and there were hypersonic missiles coming at you, you'd be pretty f*****g scared, too". "But you do your jobs".

The backlash to Modly's decision to fire Crozier has been intense.

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During his address to the crew, Modly said the news media has a political agenda that includes embarrassing the Navy and its sailors. "I assure you it was not, because I understand the facts, and those facts show that what your captain did was very, very wrong in a moment when we expected him to be the calming force on a turbulent sea". "I guarantee that you won't be alone.", Modly said.

Modly continued to tear into Crozier, "So think about that when you cheer the man off the ship who exposed you to that..."

"I understand you may be angry with me for the rest of your lives", Modly said. "It's good that you love him, but you're not required to love him".

The Pentagon initially made no mention in its public advisories of Modly personally calling on the Roosevelt. He attacked the media, which he said was seeking to embarrass the navy, and accused Crozier of betrayal.

On Monday, several hours after an audio recording of his remarks was leaked, Modly issued a statement.

"I have not listened to a recording of my remarks since speaking to the crew, so I can not verify if the transcript is accurate", Modly said.

After the recording of his speech was published, Modly issued a statement saying he had not listened to the recording but that "the spoken words were from the heart". "I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis", he said.

Crozier could not be reached for comment. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that friends said the captain had tested positive for coronavirus and was "sitting alone in the "distinguished visitors quarters" on Naval Base Guam, battling a coronavirus infection".

Some 173 crew of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive so far, possibly including Crozier himself. As testing continues, the ship will keep enough Sailors on board to sustain essential services and sanitize the ship in port.

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