PortandTerminal.com, April 7, 2020
UPDATE (APR 7 @ 05:00 AST): Associated Press is reporting that Thomas Modly has submitted his resignation to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Modly is also reported to have told staff he is quitting.
WASHINGTON – There are growing calls being made by lawmakers, service people and citizens to dismiss acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly following the disastrous speech he gave to the crew of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt two days ago.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly flew to Guam, where the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt is docked as 5,000 of its crew members are tested following a coronavirus outbreak on the vessel. More than 170 have tested positive already.
While there he delivered a 15-minute speech to the crew during which he ridiculed their former commanding officer, Capt Brett Crozier, calling him “too stupid or too naive to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,”. Sailors were heard yelling profanities at the Navy Secretary during his harsh speech.
After criticizing the beloved Capt Crozier, Modly reportedly did not tour the ship, saw few of the crew and was gone in less than 30 minutes. Questions solicited for him were screened but he did not answer a single one, promising that he would do so in the coming days.
Mr. Modly’s tone-deaf performance has raised questions as to whether he, as Acting Navy Secretary, is the right person to heal the bitterness and mistrust that has grown within the service ranks. Especially at a time when the country is asking so much of its servicemen and women.
Since his performance in Guam, Modly has issued contradictory statements saying that he stood by every word of his speech, and then later apologizing saying: “I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid.” People are confused. Apparently, so is Mr. Modly.
President Trump said today he may “get involved” it the deepening crisis. President Trump famously does not hesitate to fire key staff members when he feels the need, having already run-though 4 Secretaries of Defense in his 3 1/2 years in office. Many believe that Mr. Modly’s days are numbered. Neither the President nor the country needs the bitter distraction that he has created.
UPDATE: Democratic Lawmakers smell blood
Reps. Ted Lieu and Ruben Gallego have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asking him to fire Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly for his insults towards Captain Brett Crozier.
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