Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly may have accused fired Captain Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, of having poor judgment when he sent an email pleading for help for his crew ravaged by the COVID-19 virus, but veterans of the Navy and other U.S. armed forces are questioning Modly’s own judgment after an audio recording of his politically partisan and bitterly critical address about Capt. Crozier to his former crew leaked even more quickly than the desperate commanding officer’s original plea.
Modly faced an angry reaction from the sailors on the aircraft carrier when he called the hastily dismissed Navy captain “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer” in a statement he made to the troops over the ships public address system this morning with cries of “What the f#@k!” and “He was trying to help us!” ringing out across the ship as the Trump-appointed acting secretary showered the now-coronavirus-infected officer with invective.
The reaction Modly is facing from veterans online and posting angry comments on social media was even worse, as the tweets below demonstrate so well.
Take this comment from retired Four-Star U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, who called out Modly for “the worst judgment by a defense official possible.”
Acting Navy secretary blasts ousted aircraft carrier captain as 'stupid' in address to ship's crew – CNNPolitics. (ACTING SEC NAVY MUST RESIGN. This is the worst judgment by a defense official possible. Terrible signal to sailors.) https://t.co/2hrEtcZxAW
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) April 6, 2020
Also calling for the acting secretary’s resignation after initially refraining was this retired Marine.
I was not in the camp with those calling for acting SecNav Modly to resign for relieving #CaptCrozier. I am now.
These remarks to sailors are unbefitting a senior leader and will only increase divisiveness in the ranks.
He has failed as a leader & should resign. https://t.co/qewpesA9Lg
— David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC) April 6, 2020
Iraqi war Army veteran and West Point and Harvard graduate Fred Wellman noted that the level of outrage over Modly’s comments to the sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt crossed partisan political boundaries like no other issue that he’d ever encountered.
Let me tell you how big this speech on the TR is in the military/veterans community. The Daily Caller first broke the transcript and no I'm seeing veterans of both political parties outraged like nothing I've seen…well…ever. Modly's behavior on the TR spits on their service.
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) April 6, 2020
Those commenting on Wellman’s post heartily agreed.
Modly needs to go. Period.
— Steve Moulden-Olympic Social Distancing Champ (@SMoulden) April 6, 2020
Congressman Ted Lieu, himself a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, called for Captain Crozier’s reinstatement or for Modly to apply the same standards to his own behavior and judgment that he applied to the fired ship commander.
Dear @SECNAV Modly: You called Capt Crozier “too naive or too stupid” for not knowing his private letter would be leaked. Now we learn your private speech was leaked.
You should apply the same standard and resign. Or you should reinstate Capt Crozier. Stop being a hypocrite. https://t.co/C0zKv3ab8M
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 6, 2020
The spite and venality of just about everyone associated with the Trump administration is astounding.
Not only should Modly resign immediately after his hypocritical and just plain morally repugnant attack on a commander looking after the safety of his sailors, but — since this fish is rotting from the top — Donald Trump should join him in submitting his own resignation, not just for this horrible misstep, but for everything he’s failed to do to respond to the coronavirus pandemic properly.
Both Modly and Trump should be thankful that the United States hasn’t adopted the cultural mores of Japan where social pressure would heavily favor seppuku as the proper response to such massive failures.
Original reporting by Brad Reed at RawStory.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.