Thomas Modly Reportedly Resigns As Acting Navy Secretary Following Leaked Speech Where He Trashed Crozier

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly reportedly sent in his resignation Tuesday after a leaked speech, first reported by the Daily Caller, showed him bashing former Capt. Brett Crozier.

The speech, given to sailors on board the coronavirus stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam and first reported with a transcript obtained by the Daily Caller, backs the choice to relieve Crozier of his duties following a letter from the former captain. Crozier’s letter showed him begging the Navy for help, with at least 100 sailors on board having the novel coronavirus.

Modly doubled down on his speech before apologizing Monday evening. The acting Navy secretary reportedly sent in his letter of resignation Tuesday following the debacle.

Politico reported that he had offered to resign, and CNN reported that he officially sent in the letter. Both cited officials familiar with the situation.

The resignation came shortly after House Speak Nancy Pelosi called for Modly’s removal. (RELATED: USS Roosevelt Sailors Cheer In Support Of Fired Commander As He Exits The Coronavirus-Infected Ship)

Modly called Crozier “perhaps too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this” during Monday’s surprise speech to sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. At least one person could be heard shouting expletives as Modly trashed the former captain, according to audio obtained by Task & Response.

“The spoken words were from the heart, and meant for them [the sailors],” Modly said in his first statement Monday. “I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis.”

Just hours later, Modly issued a second statement where he apologized for the remarks. This apology was issued to the Navy, Crozier and the entire crew aboard the aircraft carrier.

“I want to apologize to the Navy for my recent comments to the crew of the TR,” Modly said this time. “Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite.”

The speech given aboard the docked ship also bashed the media. Modly told sailors that “there is never a situation where you should consider the media a part of your chain of command.” He added that “the media has an agenda” and will use situation “to embarrass you.”

The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.