WASHINGTON | the secretary of The US Navy and Thomas Modly, strongly criticized for his handling of the crisis caused by the contamination at the coronavirus of the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, has resigned, announced Tuesday the minister of Defense Mark Esper.
“This morning I accepted the resignation of Mr. Modly. He has resigned himself (…) that the Navy can move on to other things,” tweeted the minister, while information on the departure of Mr. Modly began to emerge in the american press.
Mr. Modly was dismissed on Thursday the commander of the aircraft carrier, captain Brett Crozier, who a few days earlier had pulled the alarm in a letter to the accents dramatic to evacuate his ship stopped at the island of Guam in the Pacific, several cases of COVID-19 were made in the building.
“We are not at war. There is no reason that sailors die,” exclaimed the captain Crozier in this missive, which was leaked and published by the daily californian San Francisco Chronicle.
The hierarchy of the Navy, who refused initially to evacuate completely the approximately 4800 members of the crew, preferring to do from the ship that the reported cases of COVID-19, has finally accelerated testing, and evacuated a large part of the sailors.
Mr. Modly went Monday to Guam to defend its decision to revoke the commander Crozier with his crew, who had acclaimed the last to his departure from the boat, filming videos widely circulated on social networks.
The secretary of the Navy went aboard the Theodore Roosevelt, and in a speech which was also immediately leaked to the press, he criticized the commander Crozier.
If he did not think his letter would eventually be published, “he was too stupid or too naive to command a ship like this”, he said to the crew.
He also insisted in this speech of 15 minutes on the fact that the military should not trust the media, too biased, according to him. “Their bias is dependent on their political colour,” added Mr. Modly. “They are there to divide us”.
This diatribe against the media did immediately think of the critical frequency of the president Donald Trump in respect of the press, which provoked strong reactions in Congress, where several elected officials have asked for the resignation of Mr. Modly.
Mr. Esper, who had initially defended his secretary of the Navy, eventually accepted his resignation. It has appointed the current deputy secretary of the army, Jim McPherson, secretary of the Navy ad interim.
Mr. McPherson is a former admiral who will “restore confidence and stability within the Navy during this difficult period”, he stated in a press release.
Mr. Esper has pointed out that no decision on the fate of the commander Crozier would be taken until the findings of an ongoing investigation on the incident.
“It is now necessary to give priority to the needs of the Navy, including the crew of the Teddy Roosevelt, and move on to something else, all together”, he concluded.
The behavior of Mr. Modly “was not worthy of a chief of the US Navy, especially in times of crisis, and he has done harm to the commander Crozier, to the sailors of Theodore Roosevelt, and to the whole of the US Navy,” said democrat Jack Reed, an influential member of the committee on armed services of the Senate, welcoming the decision of Mr. Esper.
“The resignation of Mr. Modly is justified and deserved”, has tweeted the democratic candidate for the presidential Joe Biden. “His remarks were totally unworthy of the position he occupied. Our sailors, our country and the commander Crozier deserve better”.