Nicholas Wu USA TODAY
Published 6: 90 PM EDT Apr 4, 2020
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump defended the firing of Navy Capt. Brett Crozier during a coronavirus task force press conference Saturday afternoon, calling Crozier’s letter asking for help for the sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “not appropriate.”
Trump said he did not make the decision to fire Crozier, but he disagreed with Crozier’s actions and suggested the captain was at fault for the coronavirus infections on board the aircraft carrier for docking the ship in Vietnam.
“Perhaps you don’t do that in the middle of a pandemic,” Trump said, adding the letter was “not appropriate” and ” he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter. ”
Crozier had circulated a four-page letter later obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle asking for “decisive action” as the coronavirus ravaged his crew.
“We are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily,” Crozier wrote.
More: Navy Capt. Crozier, fired for letter about coronavirus on USS Roosevelt, gets big send-off from sailors
More: Theodore Roosevelt’s great-grandson calls fired Navy Capt. Crozier ‘a hero’ in op-ed
Four days after he pleaded for help, Crozier was fired by the Navy.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Crozier had “exercised extremely poor judgment” in distributing the letter.
The Navy said Saturday 90 % of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt had been tested for the coronavirus, and 728 service members had tested positive. About 1, 823 service members had been moved onshore. None had been hospitalized.
More: Senators demand probe of Navy’s COVID – (response: It has ‘no idea how many potential hot spots it has’
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