(CNN) — Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has submitted his resignation a day after leaked audio revealed he called the ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “stupid” in an address to the ship’s crew, according to a US official and a former senior military official.
The Navy and Department of Defense did not respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, Modly told the crew of the Roosevelt that their former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command or that he intentionally leaked a memo to the media, in which Crozier warned about coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors, according to remarks obtained by CNN.
Late Monday night, Modly apologized in a statement for calling Crozier “stupid” in his earlier remarks.
“Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite,” Modly said in his statement. “We pick our carrier commanding officers with great care. Captain Crozier is smart and passionate. I believe, precisely because he is not naive and stupid, that he sent his alarming email with the intention of getting it into the public domain in an effort to draw public attention to the situation on his ship. I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused.”
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