More than 170 sailors aboard the Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus so far, including Crozier, the New York Times reported Sunday.
Confirming the source of Crozier’s travail, both Defense Secretary Mark Esper and President Trump have defended the sailor’s firing. Disturbingly for the administration, video from the ship during Crozier’s exit Thursday, showed the crew applauding their captain as he left the vessel for the last time.
Crew of The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt cheeron their captain on his departure
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that there were 155 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among sailors aboard the aircraft carrier, and that more than half of the ship had been tested. So far there have been no hospitalizations.
On Friday, videos circulated showing hundreds of sailors aboard the Roosevelt cheering for Crozier as he disembarked the ship. Memes depicting the Navy captain rescuing his sailors from a burning building over saving his own career sprouted up across social media.
Crozier’s firing has also raised concerns with Democratic lawmakers. In a statement, the Democratic leaders of the House Armed Services Committee condemned his removal, although they acknowledged that Crozier might have made missteps in his handling of the situation. “Captain Crozier was justifiably concerned about the health and safety of his crew, but he did not handle the immense pressure appropriately,” the lawmakers said. “However, relieving him of his command is an overreaction.”
“Throwing the commanding officer overboard without a thorough investigation is not going to solve the growing crisis aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt,” the lawmakers added.
On Sunday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed criticism of the Navy’s actions on ABC’s “This Week,” saying, “I think it’s close to criminal the way they’re dealing with this guy.”
“I think he should have a commendation rather than be fired,” Biden added.