Acting Secretary to the Navy Thomas Modly appeared to double down on his speech where he trashed fired Capt. Brett Crozier.
The speech, given to sailors on board the infected USS Theodore Roosevelt and first reported with a transcript obtained by the Daily Caller, backs the decision to relieve Crozier of his duties following a letter from the former captain. Modly called the letter, which begged the Navy to send resources and help to at least 100 sailors on board who have the novel coronavirus, a “betrayal of trust.”
Modly bashed Crozier in the speech, at one point saying he was “perhaps too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.” He doubled down on his speech in a statement after the transcript leaked.
“The spoken words were from the heart, and meant for them [the sailors],” Modly said in a statement Monday. “I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis.”
Statement from Secretary Modly on comments on TR: pic.twitter.com/V0EDj9my5J
— David B. Larter (@DavidLarter) April 6, 2020
The speech did not appear to be well-received by the around 4,000 crew members aboard the docked aircraft carrier in Guam, as sailors can be heard cursing in an audio obtained by Task & Response.
“What the fuck?” at least one person says as Modly attacks Crozier, according to the audio.
The acting secretary to the Navy also bashed the media during his surprise speech, saying that Crozier broke a “chain of command” and telling the sailors that they should never go to the media for issues.
“And I’m gonna tell you something, all of you, there is never a situation where you should consider the media a part of your chain of command,” Modly said. “Because the media has an agenda and the agenda that they have depends on which side of the political aisle they sit, and I’m sorry that’s the way the country is now, but it’s the truth. And so they use it to divide us and use it to embarrass the Navy. They use it to embarrass you.”
An anonymous Navy officer familiar with the situation told the Daily Caller that commanders immediately began to try and keep Modly’s speech from getting out after he addressed the firing.
“And the CAG (carrier air wing commander, the guy in charge of the aircraft on the carrier, an O-6) sent an email to the entire crew after the SECNAV was done saying ‘in order to publish a speech you need that person’s explicit permission and you don’t have the secant’s permission to publish what he just said, so if you recorded what he just said delete it immediately,’” the Navy officer said.
“That’s totally not how publishing speeches work, but it’s clear they quickly realized how poorly the speech was received and are trying to suppress it.” (RELATED: USS Roosevelt Sailors Cheer In Support Of Fired Commander As He Exits The Coronavirus-Infected Ship)
The Navy has not responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller.