Washington, Apr 8: US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday accepted acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s 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.
Modly had resigned, following backlash he received for removing and criticising the captain who raised alarms about a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
On Monday, Modly made an address to the crew of the Roosevelt in which criticised 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 Defence 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.
On Thursday, Modly announced he had made the decision to remove Crozier because he improperly sent an email about his concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak on the aircraft carrier using channels that were not secure to convey confidential information. Modly said about 114 sailors on the aircraft carrier tested positive for coronavirus and more cases were expected. Crozier has also tested positive. (UNI)