Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday said he agreed with the Pentagon's decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt after the captain sent a letter to officials pleading for help as members of his crew contracted the coronavirus.

What he's saying: "The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place," Trump said at a White House briefing on Saturday. "That's not appropriate. I don't think that's appropriate. And these are tough people. These are tough, strong people. I thought it looked terrible, to be honest with you."

  • "I thought it was terrible what he did — to write a letter, I mean this isn't a class on literature, this is a captain of a massive ship that's nuclear-powered. And he shouldn't be talking that way in a letter, he could call and ask and suggest."
  • "But he stopped in Vietnam, a lot people got off the boat, they came back, and they had infections. And I thought it was inappropriate for the captain of a ship. ... I agree with their decision 100%," the president said, referring to Crozier's dismissal.

Driving the news: 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 COVID-19 outbreak aboard the ship.

Background: By Saturday, almost 150 of the nearly 5,000 crew members had tested positive for COVID-19, the Washington Post reports.

  • 2,700 more people are expected to get off the ship this week, after 1,000 crew members have left to enter isolation. Some will remain behind to ensure the safety of weapons onboard.

Go deeper: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus

Go deeper

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 19,909,062 — Total deaths: 732,128 — Total recoveries — 12,138,271Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,053,123 — Total deaths: 163,047 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
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