VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Congresswoman Elaine Luria is calling for the firing of Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly following his latest remarks regarding the recently fired Captain Brett Cozier.
“TR Sailors are on the frontlines of this pandemic and of our nation’s defense in the Pacific,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria, referring to the recent removal of Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt the past week.
The aircraft carrier is at the center of a coronavirus outbreak among U.S. sailors.
Crozier was responsible for a leaked letter in which he pleaded with officials to take sailors off the ship due to an outbreak of the coronavirus on the carrier, officials said. Weeks after a port call to central Vietnam, nearly 100 Roosevelt sailors tested positive for the deadly virus.
As of the afternoon of April 2, the Navy says 114 sailors have tested positive. None are hospitalized. The Navy is also expecting many more sailors — “hundreds” — to test positive as well.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Crozier’s removal was “not retribution,” however Modly accused the fired commander of the COVID-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt of being “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier several day later.
He delivered the criticism in an extraordinary broadside punctuated with profanity to sailors who had cheered the departing skipper last week.
Videos went viral on social media over the weekend, showing hundreds of sailors gathered on the ship chanting and applauding Crozier on Thursday as he walked off the vessel, turned, saluted, waved and got into a waiting car.
Last week, Senators Warner and Kaine wrote a letter questioning Secretary Modly about the conditions aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Congresswoman Luria added that Modly’s remarks to the crew show that “he is in no way fit to lead our Navy through this trying time.”
“Secretary Esper should immediately fire him.”
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