- President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday he agreed “100%” with the Navy’s decision to fire the commander who sent a letter pleading for help with the coronavirus outbreak on his ship.
- “I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter? I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear-powered,” Trump said.
- Navy officials said they fired Capt. Brett Crozier because he bypassed the chain of command by sending the letter, and wasn’t careful with who the information was sent to.
- Crozier has been hailed in the wake of his firing, with his sailors giving him a raucous send-off and chanting his name as he left the ship in Guam.
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President Donald Trump on Saturday bashed Capt. Brett Crozier, the fired Navy commander who wrote a letter demanding assistance with the coronavirus outbreak on his ship that sickened dozens of sailors.
Trump said he agreed “100%” with the Navy’s decision to fire the commander, though he acknowledged he didn’t “know much about it.”
Navy officials removed Crozier from command on Thursday, several days after he sent a four-page letter to senior military officials pleading for help from the Pentagon as the virus spread throughout the ship. The letter was then leaked to the media.
The acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told media the dismissal was because Crozier circumvented the chain of command when he sent the letter, and wasn’t careful with “who that information went to.”
“He wrote a letter. The letter was a five-page letter from a captain. And the letter was all over the place,” Trump told reporters at his Saturday press briefing, inaccurately stating the number of pages. “That’s not appropriate. I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
In the letter, Crozier had described the impossible feat of implementing quarantines and social-distancing guidelines, noting that the warship had major space limitations.
He urged the military officials to remove most of the 4,800 service members aboard the ship and provide space to quarantine on shore in Guam, saying he knew it was an “extraordinary measure,” but that it was a “necessary risk.”
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote. “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
In his Saturday press briefing, Trump said he thought the letter “looked terrible.”
“I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter? I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear-powered,” Trump said. “And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter. He could call and ask, and suggest.”
After Crozier was fired, several videos went viral showing the send-off the sailors gave him.
Crozier walked off the ship in Guam to raucous cheers and applause, with sailors chanting Crozier’s name.
The Navy announced Saturday that 155 people aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt had tested positive for COVID-19, none were hospitalized, and 44% of the ship’s crew had been tested.
So far, 1,548 sailors have been moved ashore, and the ship will keep enough sailors aboard “to sustain essential services and sanitize the ship in port,” the Navy said.