Acting Navy boss resigns amid coronavirus uproar: Reports


Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly submitted his resignation Tuesday after facing backlash for calling the ousted captain of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier “stupid,” reported CNN and The Associated Press.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Modly faced public criticism and calls for his resignation by some lawmakers after he lambasted Capt. Brett Crozier on Monday for writing a letter to Navy leaders that was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle. In his letter, Crozier pleaded for more swift and comprehensive action to address the coronavirus outbreak on his ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Citing a loss of confidence in his judgment, Modly fired Crozier as commander of the ship last week. The captain received a standing ovation from his crew as he departed on Friday.

In a blistering address to the Roosevelt’s crew Monday morning, Modly bashed Crozier as “stupid” and “naive,” and called his actions “a betrayal.”

Despite criticism for his harsh remarks, Modly said in a statement later Monday that he stood by “every word” of his address. Hours later, he issued an apology, reportedly at Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s request, to the Navy, Crozier and his former crew.

“I believe, precisely because he is not naive and stupid, that he sent his alarming email with the intention of getting it into the public domain in an effort to draw public attention to the situation on his ship,” Modly said in a statement. “I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused.”

Originally published