Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly suddenly resigned amid the fall out after Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of duty for allegedly leaking a letter in a breach of the Navy’s chain of command. Crozier’s letter was a request for help because the conditions aboard the ship were putting those on board in danger of coronavirus.
After Capt. Crozier was fired from his post as captain of the U.S.S. Roosevelt, Modly traveled to the ship and gave a controversial speech to the soldiers aboard.
This morning I accepted Secretary Modly's resignation. With the approval of the President, I am appointing current Army Undersecretary Jim McPherson as acting Secretary of the Navy. pic.twitter.com/FvfgOwuXw4
— @EsperDoD (@EsperDoD) April 7, 2020
Modly told the crew that Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer.”
“Crew of the Teddy Roosevelt, you are under no obligation to love your leadership, only respect it,” Modly said during a 15 minute speech given via intercom. “You are under no obligation to like your job, only to do it. You are under no obligation, you are under no obligation to expect anything from your leaders other than they will treat you fairly and put the mission of the ship first.”
Many are claiming Crozier’s firing was done to save the Trump administration embarrassment and that the subsequent resignation of Modly was a proverbial falling on the sword for poor handling of the matter.
For instance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed “Modly’s actions and words demonstrate his failure to prioritize the force protection of our troops.”
President Donald Trump stated he had no role in Modly’s resignation. “I’ve heard he was a very good man…in many ways it was a very unselfish thing for him to do.”