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Navy Secretary Who Called Captain Of Coronavirus-Infected Ship 'Stupid' Resigns

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Topline: After removing Captain Brett Crozier from command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt—and making an expletive-filled speech to the ship’s crew calling Crozier “stupid”—acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly submitted his resignation from his position Tuesday.

  • Democratic politicians, including Virginia Representative Elaine Luria, a Navy veteran, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, California Representative Ted Lieu, Texas Representative Filemon Vela and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth had called on Modly to resign.
  • “I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite,” Modly said, apologizing in a statement issued Monday night. “I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused.”
  • The Navy has yet to accept Modly’s resignation, but is expected to do so.
  • A minimum of 230 U.S.S. TR sailors have tested positive for coronavirus as of Tuesday, a 57-case increase from yesterday, according to a CNN report from a Navy official.
  • Last month, President Trump passed over Modly to become permanent Navy Secretary, according to the Washington Post.
  • Undersecretary of the Army James McPherson will replace Modly, reports CNN, citing a US official and defense official as the source.

Key background: In his address to the 4,000-plus crew, Modly called the ship’s former captain “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer,” according to the New York Times on Monday, also railing on former Vice President Joe Biden and China. Crozier was relieved from command of U.S.S. Theodore by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly on Thursday after his letter expressing his dismay at the Navy’s handling of the coronavirus aboard the ship leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

(This story is a developing story. Check back for updates.)


This article was written by Alexandra Sternlicht from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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