House committee chair calls Navy secretary to resign, despite apology

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee reiterated his call on Tuesday for the removal of Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, despite Modly's apology for ridiculing the commander of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier.
Representative Adam Smith, Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on a conference call with reporters that he did not agree with Modly's assessment that Captain Brett Crozier had "panicked."
And he said it was hard to imagine that sailors would have confidence in Modley after the acting secretary's surprise speech on Monday to the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, in which he defended his decision to remove Crozier and ridiculed the captain as "naive or stupid."
Crozier was revered by his crew for writing a letter that leaked publicly calling for more help from the Navy as the ship reeled from the coronavirus outbreak.
"For now, no, I have not changed my mind from the statement I sent out yesterday," Smith said.
Smith said he spoke to Modly immediately after his decision to suspend Crozier.
Modly issued an apology on Monday to Crozier, reversing earlier comments that he stood by his initial speech.
Smith said it was not enough to change his opinion.
"I think Secretary Modly's going to have a heck of a time getting the confidence of the Navy back," Smith said. "I don't see how he can lead the Navy."
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