Sailors assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have told acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly quite clearly that they don’t like his act at all.
The U.S. Navy sailors were quite vocal in their reactions when Modly gave a speech to the crew over the ship’s public address system to discuss the controversial firing of the ship’s former Captain Brett Crozier after he sent a five-page letter to the Pentagon begging for help for the personnel under his command after an outbreak of coronavirus on the carrier.
Despite clearly acting in the best interest of his crew, Crozier was fired for “poor judgment” and going outside of the chain of command after the e-mail that he sent through non-classified channels was leaked to the press.
A video of the ship’s sailors cheering and chanting Crozier’s name as he left the vessel for the final time in port in Guam went viral over the weekend, proving that his actions — trying to protect those under his command from unnecessary risk of contracting the disease after infections with COVIOD-19 grew from three people on March 24th to 155 as of yesterday — were greatly appreciated by those whose lives were at risk.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that acting Secretary Modly’s speech to the crew — described to The New York Times by one crew member as “whiny, upset, irritated, condescending,” and including multiple attacks on Commander Crozier’s integrity and inappropriate partisan political shots at Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, who called the Trump administration’s action “close to criminal” — was not received well, particularly after it was revealed yesterday that Crozier had himself tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Modly told the remaining crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that Crozier was “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer” if he hadn’t forseen the leak of his email. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose,” the acting Secretary continued.
An audio recording of the speech, included at the bottom of this article, reveals that at least one livid sailor exclaimed: “What the f#@k!” while another screamed, “He was trying to help us!”
The tone-deaf speech by the acting Secretary of the Navy is just another example of the lack of concern for the lives of American citizens that the Trump administration has displayed since the coronavirus pandemic has started with a president more concerned about his own interests than in doing everything possible to save lives and prevent further deaths from the deadly disease.
The so-called “wartime” president, as Trump likes to call himself, can’t even take the slightest step to protect the nation’s armed forces during this crisis and then punishes the one person who does make the effort. That’s not a good look for any president, but especially not for one seeking reelection.
You can listen to acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s speech to the sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt — and the crew’s angry reactions in the audio clip below.
Original reporting by John Ismay and