The Navy captain who was dismissed for speaking out to save sailors’ lives as the coronavirus spread through his ship has tested positive for the virus on Sunday, according to the New York Times.
Citing two Naval Academy classmates, the Times says Brett Crozier, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, had symptoms before his removal this week.
Crozier was fired after emailing a letter to military leaders pleading for “decisive action” and wrote of his complaints about how the ship was not getting proper resources to combat the coronavirus outbreak onboard. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier said.
On Wednesday, after the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, assurances were given that Crozier’s position was safe. But by Thursday, something had changed and the captain was dismissed. According to Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly Crozier was fired for “not working with the chain of command.”
Several videos of Crozier departing the ship went viral this week, as sailors could be heard cheering for the captain and chanting his name.
USS Theodore Roosevelt Service members share videos of their cheers for Capt. Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship.
The Navy fired the captain over leak of a letter requesting much of the crew be removed to prevent spread of coronavirus on the ship. https://t.co/lr2GgekGDQ pic.twitter.com/0kDqUDOiAQ
— ABC News (@ABC) April 3, 2020
During his briefing on the coronavirus on Saturday, President Trump was critical of Crozier’s letter and voiced full support for his removal. “He shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” the president said. “I thought it was terrible what he did.”
— PoliticsVideo23 (@politicsvideo23) April 5, 2020
Democratic leaders of the House Armed Services Committee blasted the captain’s removal, saying, “Throwing the commanding officer overboard without a thorough investigation is not going to solve the growing crisis aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.”
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And on Sunday, Joe Biden called the treatment of Crozier “close to criminal.”
“I think it’s close to criminal the way they’re dealing with this guy,” Joe Biden tells @GStephanopoulos about the Navy firing captain of the Theodore Roosevelt. “…I think he should have a commendation rather than be fired.”
Trump defended the firing. https://t.co/XNPcBPN3v6 pic.twitter.com/hbGdqDvbpJ
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 5, 2020