- President Donald Trump suggested Monday that he will be getting involved in the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
- “I’m going to get involved and see what is going on there,” Trump said at a White House press briefing.
- The president said that he has heard good things about the captain and will be looking into the situation because he does not “want to destroy somebody for having a bad day.”
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President Donald Trump said Monday afternoon that he is “going to get involved” in the firing of a Navy aircraft carrier captain.
Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, was relieved of his command Thursday after a letter he wrote raising alarms about a worsening coronavirus outbreak on the ship leaked to the media.
The decision to remove Crozier was made by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, who said he “lost confidence” in the captain.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Trump said that “the letter shouldn’t have been sent,” calling the letter “a mistake that shouldn’t have been made.”
“All that said, [Crozier’s] career prior to that was very good,” the president added. “So, I’m going to get involved and see what is going on there because I don’t want to destroy somebody for having a bad day.”
He said that he had heard good things about the captain.
The president’s comments followed a leak of an audio recording of acting Navy secretary speaking to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and trashing their former captain.
At one point, Modly said Crozier was “either too naive or too stupid” to be the carrier’s commanding officer “if he didn’t think that information wasn’t going to get out in the public, in this information age that we live in.”
Trump, who has said that he supported Modly’s decision, said the acting secretary’s remarks were “rough.” Modly has insisted he stands by his remarks.
“I may look into it only from the standpoint that something should be resolved because I’m hearing good things about both people,” Trump told reporters Monday afternoon, apparently referring to Crozier and Modly.
“I may just get involved. You have two good people, and they’re arguing. I’m good, believe it or not, at settling arguments. I’m good at settling these arguments. I may look into it in detail, and I’ll be able to figure it out very fast,” he said.
The acting secretary told The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius on Sunday that he swiftly fired Crozier because he wanted to act before Trump felt the need to get involved.
“I didn’t want to get into a decision where the president would feel that he had to intervene because the Navy couldn’t be decisive,”Modly told The Post.
“If I were president, and I saw a commanding officer of a ship exercising such poor judgment, I would be asking why the leadership of the Navy wasn’t taking action itself,” he further explained.
After referencing the president’s involvement in the trial of former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, he said, “I put myself in the president’s shoes. I considered how the president felt like he needed to get involved in Navy decisions.”
“I didn’t want that to happen again,” Modly said.
The president did not elaborate Monday on exactly how he would get involved in the situation involving the former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.