Apr 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier tests positive for coronavirus

The USS Theodore Roosevelt

Photo: Mai/Mai/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier has tested positive for the coronavirus just days after losing command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, the New York Times reports, citing two of his Naval Academy classmates.

Why it matters: The ship has seen more than 100 cases of coronavirus on board, and all sailors remaining on the ship must test negative for the disease before being evacuated.

  • The captain's letter — in which he pleaded for more resources and space to quarantine crew members offshore — was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle last week.
  • He was subsequently relieved of duty.

What they're saying:

  • Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has argued that Crozier evaded the chain of command and "at no time relayed" the urgency that he wrote in his letter. Modly said Crozier "allowed the complexity of his challenge with the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally, when acting professionally was what was needed most at the time."
  • Joe Biden tweeted Friday: "Captain Crozier was faithful to his duty—both to his sailors and his country. Navy leadership sent a chilling message about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Admin, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors."

What's next: "A group of Democratic senators asked the office of the Department of Defense Inspector General on Friday to investigate the U.S. Navy's response to the coronavirus outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and the firing of its captain," Axios' Marisa Fernandez reported on Friday.

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