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Chairman Courtney Calls for Acting Navy Secretary Modly’s Resignation Following Personal Attacks on Captain Brett Crozier

April 6, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released the following statement today calling for the resignation of Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly after remarks were obtained in which the Acting Secretary publicly referred to the former Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, as “naive” or “stupid” for his actions to protect the men and women under his command from the spread of COVID-19. The Acting Secretary’s remarks were made this morning in an address to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, thousands of whom cheered their support for Captain Crozier after he departed the ship following his abrupt ousting by Navy and Department of Defense leadership. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is also calling for the Acting Secretary’s resignation today.

"Acting Secretary Modly's gratuitous personal attack on a Naval Officer infected with COVID-19 and in quarantine is stunning, and outrageous,” said Congressman Courtney. “At this critical time, the men and women of our Navy need to know their leadership is laser-focused on ensuring their wellbeing, and giving them the support they need to accomplish their mission. Flying halfway across the world to publicly insult Captain Crozier, a highly decorated and respected officer who has already taken a hit for doing what he thought was right for the crew, does nothing to make our Navy safer or stronger. Unfortunately, after what I have seen play out over the past week, Mr. Modly has lost my confidence to lead the Navy and its men and women at this challenging time. I believe it's time for him to step aside.

“It is still the intention of the House Armed Services Committee to conduct an oversight briefing this Friday to get a dispassionate understanding of the events surrounding the USS Roosevelt, including Captain Crozier’s dismissal. It is my belief that we can do that with Navy leadership, but the Acting Secretary’s behavior and prejudicial comments about Captain Crozier disqualify him from achieving the goal of accountability and rule of law. He should step down from his position as Acting Secretary, and if he refuses to do so, Secretary Esper should demand his resignation.”