COVID-19: Pentagon chief defends dismissal of aircraft carrier commander

Defense Minister Mark Esper on Sunday supported the decision to remove the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who had sounded the alarm to evacuate his coronavirus-contaminated vessel.
But Mr. Esper, clearly embarrassed, took care not to fully endorse this sanction and refused to say whether it won the support of the military staff.

Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, “made a difficult decision […]. I have full confidence in him and in the leadership of the Navy. And I support their decision, “said the head of the Pentagon on ABC.

Mark Esper also declined to say whether President Donald Trump had weighed on the decision.

USS Theodore Roosevelt commander Brett Crozier was removed from office Thursday after writing a multi-page letter to his superiors demanding the immediate evacuation of his ship, immobilized on the island of Guam in the Pacific, several cases of COVID-19 having been recorded in the building.

“We are not at war. There is no reason for sailors to die, “said Captain Crozier in the leaked missive, which was published by the California daily San Francisco Chronicle .

A gesture that did not please the American president.

“It’s awful what he did, writing a letter,” said Donald Trump on Saturday during his daily press conference on the coronavirus.

The immediate dismissal without preliminary formal investigation of Brett Crozier, acclaimed by his sailors on his departure from the ship, was strongly criticized, in particular by several democratically elected representatives.

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