On Monday, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly addressed the crew members of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, whose captain, Brett Crozier, the Trump-appointed official had punitively fired just days before — and in his latest remarks, Modly launched into an angry, personal attack-driven rant against Crozier. Modly suggested that Crozier had betrayed the Navy, which is not just outlandish rhetoric. Within the Navy, a charge of betrayal is enough to drag a sailor in front of a court martial. All of this vitriol against Crozier has emerged from the Trump administration because he dared to demand assistance for the sailors on his ship, which has now at least 173 cases of the Coronavirus among its crew.
After a video surfaced of crew members chanting his name, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly blasted Captain Brett Crozier as "stupid" in an address to the ship's crew this morning in remarks that were piped over the PA system.https://t.co/BZNouZXRgX
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 6, 2020
The sailors, for their part, are big fans of Crozier, it seems. When recently, he left the ship for the final time following his unceremonious dismissal, video footage circulated widely of the sailors cheering in support. Meanwhile, on Monday, Modly ranted that Crozier may have been “too naive or too stupid” to be in command of the ship. These remarks were not some backroom rant — they were a part of an address that was broadcast over the public address system on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.
I have heard the recording of the Acting SecNav speech to the crew of the TR. When he calls Crozier “too naive or too stupid to command a ship” you can hear sailors yelling “What the fuck?!?”. I am disgusted by Modly and his dishonorable behavior. He must resign.
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) April 6, 2020
Referencing the letter in which Crozier made his demands for assistance for his virus-stricken ship, Modly railed:
‘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 naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this. The alternative is that he did this on purpose.’
Either way, Modly claimed, his actions supposedly constituted “betrayal of trust, with me, with his chain of command.”
🚨Exclusive🚨: We obtained audio of Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's speech to USS Roosevelt. Listen to his unbelievable speech, where he calls Capt. Crozier, "too naive or too stupid," attached to our story:https://t.co/9bhkE0bKY7
— Matthias Gafni (@mgafni) April 6, 2020
Crozier’s letter, which he sent to over twenty people, contained pleas for sailors to be allowed to quarantine off the ship to try and keep the virus from continuing to spread. He wrote:
‘We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset: our Sailors.’
U.S. Navy SEAL Gallagher shot an unarmed man, shot a girl, stabbed an injured boy and posed with his dead body: pardoned and reinstated.
U.S. Navy Captain Crozier sounded the alarm on coronavirus outbreak to save the lives of his sailors: fired and infected.
— Andrea Junker (@Strandjunker) April 6, 2020
The Navy has since actually put Crozier’s plan in motion, and they’ve evacuated 2,000 sailors from the vessel and counting — but not before they kicked Crozier off the ship for daring to challenge the public image of the Trump administration. The firing, which President Donald Trump himself eventually expressed public support for, comes as the latest in a long line of clear steps to prioritize the public image of the president’s team amidst the deadly Coronavirus crisis.
Modly acknowledged the pushback, commenting to the sailors:
‘I cannot control or attempt to change whatever anger you have with me for relieving your beloved CO. I understand you may be angry with me for the rest of your lives.’
The problem is that in an ideal world, any public official would prioritize health and safety rather than resolving themselves to coming out on top in some kind of battle of wills. We don’t need Modly’s belligerence!