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Navy secretary resigns after calling fired captain 'stupid'

Navy secretary resigns after calling fired captain 'stupid'
Posted at 3:37 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 15:39:22-04

Thomas Modly, the acting Navy secretary who fired USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier, resigned on Tuesday, one day after reports surfaced that he called Crozier "stupid."

CNN reported Modly's resignation, citing a US official and a former senior military officer.

Crozier called attention to the plight on board of the ship earlier in the week amid a massive spread of COVID-19 among sailors, which turned into a public spat between Naval leaders and Crozier. Crozier leaked a memo to a newspaper, which brought attention on the ship, which is docked in Guam.

The spat resulted in Crozier’s dismissal as the ship’s captain.

On Friday, Crozier left the ship with hundreds of sailors chanting “Captain Crozier,” as seen in a number of videos that have since gone viral.

The New York Times reported that Crozier began exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms on Thursday.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed to CNN on Sunday that there have been 155 cases of COVID-19 on board the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.

The Navy claimed Crozier not following the proper chain of command as justification for his firing.

"I could reach no other conclusion than that Capt. 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," said Modly last week. "It creates a panic, and it creates the perception that the Navy is not on the job, the government's not on the job, and it's just not true."

But on Monday, CNN learned that Modly told sailors that Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid" to be in command.

Modly became the acting Naval secretary in November after spending two years as the under secretary of the Navy.