Washington, Apr 8: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, during a White House briefing, denied any role in acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s resignation.
"I had no role in it," Trump averred. Earlier in the day, Modly resigned following backlash he received for removing and criticizing the captain who raised alarms about a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper also accepted his resignation. "This morning I accepted Secretary Modly's resignation. With the approval of the President [Donald Trump], I am appointing current Army Undersecretary Jim McPherson as acting Secretary of the Navy," Esper said in a tweet.
Trump said the whole situation is unfortunate, adding that Crozier made a mistake by breaking the chain of command when he sent a letter to multiple Navy officials about his concerns over the outbreak on the ship.
Moreover, Trump said, Modly should not have said that Crozier was "too naive or too stupid" to lead the ship.
On Monday, Modly made an address to the crew of the Roosevelt in which criticized the ousted commanding officer of the ship, Capt. Brett Crozier, as being either too "naive" or "stupid" when he decided to break the chain of command to raise alarms about a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the ship.
Politico reported on Tuesday, citing a senior US defense official familiar with the situation, that Modly offered to resign, but that it is unclear if Defense secretary Mark Esper will accept it. The two had a meeting earlier in the day, but neither Esper nor the White House have pressured Modly to resign, the report said.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and other Democratic lawmakers called on Modly to resign for the way he handled the situation. (UNI)