Why the Navy’s Coronavirus Crisis Turned Into a Political Crisis

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In the days following March 31, which is when Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, warned Navy leaders in a memo about the health-care crisis his crew was facing from the coronavirus, Crozier and acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, lost their jobs. Modly fired Crozier on April 2, after the memo became public and drew media attention. Then, on April 7, Modly resigned after receiving negative backlash for flying to Guam and denouncing Crozier in a speech over the ship’s loudspeaker system. During that same one-week period, the number of sailors who had been on the Roosevelt and tested positive for the coronavirus had risen from less than 10 to 230.

Anyone who understands the culture of the Navy and the decisionmaking process of the Trump administration should not have been surprised at how this unfolded since the first sailor on the ship became infected with the virus on March 22.

This article was originally published in The National Interest.