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Acting Navy boss submits resignation amid coronavirus uproar

Thomas Modly (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has submitted a letter of resignation to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

That’s according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter before an official announcement.

The official says Modly has also told staff he is quitting.

Modly had created a combustible controversy by firing the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week, saying Capt. Brett E. Crozier had shown “extremely poor judgment” in widely distributing by email a letter calling for urgent help with the COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship.

Modly then flew to the ship, at a port in Guam, and delivered a speech to the crew in which he lambasted Crozier, saying he was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. On Monday night, at Esper’s insistence, Modly issued a public apology, but by then the calls among Democrats in Congress for his resignation were mounting.

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