Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he would consider reinstating US Navy Captain Brett Crozier, who was relieved of duty from the USS Theodore Roosevelt after sending a letter requesting the ship be evacuated over a spreading coronavirus infestation on board.
“We’ve taken nothing off the table,” Mr Esper told CBS News. “My inclination is always to support the chain of command, and to take the recommendations seriously.”
Mr Crozier was relieved from duty after his letter leaked to the press. President Donald Trump, Mr Esper, and former Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly initially disagreed with Mr Crozier’s assessment before he was removed from his position on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Mr Modly visited the ship shortly after and gave a speech to the sailors, who were largely supportive of Mr Crozier and cheered for him as he left the ship for the last time. Mr Modly told the sailors that Mr Crozier was either “too stupid” or “too naive” to think his letter wouldn’t be leaked, and suggested the captain may have sent the letter with the intentions of garnering attention in the press.
His speech was met with negativity and was eventually leaked to the press. After receiving substantial backlash, Mr Modly resigned as Secretary of the Navy.