US Navy captain fired for raising coronavirus concerns tests positive himself | US military | The Guardian

US Navy captain fired for raising coronavirus concerns tests positive himself | US military | The Guardian

Capt Brett Crozier addresses the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Brett Crozier, the US Navy captain who was removed from his command this week after he wrote a memo expressing concern for the health of crew members exposed to coronavirus, has himself tested positive, the New York Times first reported.

The Times report cited two US Naval Academy classmates close to Crozier’s family. The details of Crozier’s condition were unclear.

Crozier was dismissed as captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, after writing a letter alerting navy leaders that Covid-19 aboard the vessel was threatening the lives of his sailors.

“The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,” he wrote.

As he left the ship following his dismissal, Crozier was cheered exuberantly by his former crew.

On Saturday, Donald Trump said he did not think Crozier should have written the letter, which he said was a “terrible” thing to do.

“The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “That’s not appropriate.”

“I thought it was terrible, what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered. And he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter.”

The Washington Post has reported that acting navy secretary Thomas Modly “told one colleague [on] Wednesday, the day before he announced the move: ‘Breaking news: Trump wants him fired’.”

The president said: “I didn’t make the decision.”

Defense secretary Mark Esper defended the decision to dismiss Crozier on cable news on Sunday morning, saying “when all those facts come to bear we’ll have a chance to understand” why the decision was taken.

Esper told CNN’s State of the Union he supported the decision to relieve Crozier, which he said was made by navy leadership, but “there is an investigation ongoing”.

Esper said “we need to take care of the sailors on the ship”, adding that there have been 155 positive coronavirus tests on the Roosevelt.

Presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called Crozier’s dismissal “close to criminal”.

“It’s close to criminal the way they’re dealing with this guy,” the former vice-president told ABC’s This Week. “The idea that this man stood up and said what had to be said, got it out that his troops, his navy personnel were in danger … Look how many have the virus.

“I think he should have a commendation rather than be fired.”

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