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Live feed: Navy Secretary resigns over USS Theodore Roosevelt coronavirus saga

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Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly testifies during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee about about ongoing reports of substandard housing conditions in Washington, on Capitol Hill on Dec. 3, 2019. Modly says the captain of the COVID-stricken aircraft carrier who was fired last week had betrayed his service and may have been “too naive or too stupid” to be commanding officer of the ship. Officials are confirming that Modly made the comments Sunday, April 5, 2020, to the ship’s crew in Guam.
Alex Brandon, Associated Press

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Update: Acting Secretary of the Navy has resigned

2:15 p.m.

Thomas Modly, the Acting Secretary of the Navy, resigned on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The now former-secretary was pressured to resign after he criticized the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and former commander Capt. Brett Crozier this weekend. Many of the sailors aboard the massive aircraft carrier, to include Crozier, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Pentagon has selected the Undersecretary of the Army James McPherson — a retired naval officer and former top judge advocate of the Navy — to replace Modly.

Navy secretary apologizes for lashing out at sailors, ship’s former captain

Noon

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has walked-back disparaging comments he made about the crew and relieved captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, according to The Associated Press.

“I also want to apologize directly to Capt. Crozier, his family, and the entire crew of the Theodore Roosevelt for any pain my remarks may have caused,” Modly wrote in a letter released late Monday,.

The Associated Press reported that Modly was ordered to apologize by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The written statement came a day after the Navy secretary flew to Guam to address the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and three days after Modly fired the aircraft carrier’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier.

Modly rebuked the sailors for cheering their former commander off the ship and reminded them that their duty was to the country’s interests. The secretary told the sailors Crozier was “too stupid or too naive” to command the ship.

Modly relieved Crozier of his command Friday after the captain sent a letter to Pentagon leadership — which was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle — about the deadly coronavirus that was infecting the ship’s crew and the immediate need to evacuate the sick and contagious.

“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,” Crozier wrote.

Upwards of 170 the aircraft carrier’s crew has tested positive for the coronavirus while around 40% of the nearly 5,000 sailors have been removed from the ship for testing.