Good News? Maybe

Published: April 27, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
Read More

photo: Seaman Apprentice Nicholas Huynh/AP

Captain Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who was reprimanded and removed from his command as a result of a letter he sent to Navy officials in Washington imploring their support in removing sailors from his ship due to an outbreak of coronavirus on board, appears to be on track to be reinstated to his command… maybe.

While the Navy is finalizing an investigation into the matter, Admiral Michael Gilday and new acting Navy secretary, James McPherson have recommended to Department of Defense secretary, Mark Esper, that Crozier be reinstated.

Former acting secretary, Thomas Modly, resigned after chastising Crozier and his actions both publicly and over loudspeakers to the crew of the TR.

“A reinstatement of Captain Crozier,” The New York Times writes (April 24), “would be a stunning turnaround in a story that has seized the attention of the Navy, the overall military and [the public]… Crozier has taken on the role of an unlikely hero, willing to risk his career for the sake of his sailors.”

Not so fast. As we have all become accustomed to, little happens in the Trump administration without turmoil.

“Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper… has asked for more time to consider whether to sign off on reinstating the captain… [His] decision to hold up the investigation has surprised Navy officials, who believed that the defense secretary would leave the process in the hands of the military chain of command.”

But the story offers additional information about Modly’s original decision.

“Admiral Gilday and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” The Times continues, “had both advised Mr. Modly not to remove Captain Crozier before an investigation into events aboard the Roosevelt was complete. But Mr. Modly feared that Mr. Trump wanted Captain Crozier fired, according to his acquaintances, and dismissed the captain. …

“Mr. Esper is usually closely aligned with Mr. Trump… [however],…it was unclear… [if] … Mr. Esper’s decision not to immediately accept the recommendation that the captain be reinstated could reflect a fear of getting on the wrong side of his boss, officials said.”

The one thing Trump excels at is suggesting, or flat-out ordering the firing (rarely is it a genuine resignation) of individuals his “gut” deems as disloyal or taking actions that would contradict his shoot-from-the-lip policies.

While I try to avoid writing commentaries on Trump, his contradictory, empty-headed, and dangerous suggested actions about the coronavirus and most every other decision, make Depression-era President Herbert Hoover look like Lincoln.

Once again, the president has inserted himself into an issue where his influence dictates responses by officials more concerned about losing their jobs than doing the right thing. It’s not surprising that he gets most of the misinformation that guides his decision-making from loyalists, Fox News pundits and the Twitterverse.

When are people in Washington going to stop genuflecting to this president and do their jobs based on facts and evidence?

When will moderate Republicans speak out? When will any Republican in Congress speak out against the covfefe-in-chief?

Sadly, this incident is more proof that courage in Republican leadership in Washington is all but dead.

“Captain Crozier, who friends say is feeling better after he himself contracted the coronavirus, is in isolation in the distinguished visitors quarter on a Navy base in Guam. He is awaiting another test to confirm that he no longer has the virus, his friend said.”


Leave a Comment

Read More Articles
The Latest... And Sometimes Greatest