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Trump says Navy captain letter asking for assistance on coronavirus-stricken ship ‘was horrible’

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Captain Brett Crozier addresses the crew for the primary time as commanding officer of the plane provider USS Theodore Roosevelt throughout a change of command ceremony on the ship’s flight deck in San Diego, California, U.S. November 1, 2019.

U.S. Navy | Mass Communication Specialist third Class Sean Lynch | Reuters

A since-fired Navy captain’s plea for assist with a coronavirus outbreak on his vessel “was horrible,” President Donald Trump mentioned Saturday.

The officer, Capt. Brett Crozier of the united statesTheodore Roosevelt, wrote a letter earlier this week to navy management asking for assist with a coronavirus outbreak on the warship. The letter, which was dated March 30, was despatched by way of nonsecure unclassified e mail and in addition outdoors the chain of command. It leaked to the media. 

“I assumed it was horrible what he did, to put in writing a letter. This is not a category on literature. This can be a captain of a large ship that is nuclear-powered,” Trump mentioned at a information briefing Saturday night. “The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was in every single place. That is not acceptable. I do not assume that is acceptable.”

Within the four-page letter, which was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Crozier described a worsening coronavirus outbreak aboard the warship, a short lived house to greater than 4,000 crew members. Greater than 100 individuals on the ship had been contaminated on the time.

“We’re not at warfare. Sailors don’t have to die. If we don’t act now, we’re failing to correctly deal with our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Crozier wrote within the letter. “The unfold of the illness is ongoing and accelerating.”

The outbreak occurred after a accomplished port name to Da Nang, Vietnam earlier in March. Fifteen days after leaving Vietnam, three sailors from the united statesRoosevelt examined optimistic for the virus. The infections had been the primary stories of coronavirus on a navy vessel at sea.

When the ship arrived in Vietnam, coronavirus circumstances within the nation had been fewer than 100, Thomas Modly, the appearing Navy secretary, mentioned final month.

“I suppose the captain stopped in Vietnam and folks received off in Vietnam,” Trump mentioned Saturday. “Maybe you do not do this in the course of a pandemic or one thing that appeared prefer it was going to be. Historical past would say you do not essentially cease and let your sailors get off.”

Crozier has since been relieved of responsibility, Modly instructed reporters Thursday on the Pentagon. He added Friday that Crozier will probably be reassigned throughout an investigation to find out if he ought to face disciplinary motion. Trump added Saturday that he was not concerned within the resolution to alleviate Crozier.

“The captain’s actions made his sailors, their households, and lots of within the public consider that his letter was the one motive assist from our bigger Navy household was forthcoming, which was hardly the case,” he mentioned. “It raised alarm bells unnecessarily.”

The response to Crozier’s dismissal has been intense. In movies posted on-line, sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt applauded their former commander and hailed him as a hero.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this report

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