Joe Biden Backs Ousted Captain as Sailors Challenge Navy Leadership via NBC

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks in Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2020. - Joe Biden reclaimed frontrunner status in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination after notching up stunning Super Tuesday primary victories. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via …
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden backed ousted Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, who was relieved of his command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier after his letter complaining about a coronavirus outbreak was leaked.

As Breitbart News’ Kristina Wong reported Friday:

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired Capt. Brett Crozier on Thursday after Crozier wrote a detailed memo to his superiors that made its way to the San Francisco Chronicle, which warned that sailors on the ship and off the ship in Guam did not have living conditions in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Navy guidelines for social distancing.

Modly said Crozier was fired not for raising the concerns, but detailing his concerns in a memo that was emailed over unsecured and unclassified lines and not communicating his concerns to his direct superior, who lived down the hall from him on the ship.

Sailors aboard the ship applauded Capt. Crozier as he left. But the incident raised serious concerns about the leak of information to the media.

Moreover, NBC News reported Friday that a group of sailors, whom it did not identify, defended Crozier and challenged Modly directly — a stark violation of the chain of command:

In a statement provided to NBC News, a group of sailors on the ship said, “Modly has broken faith with the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.”

“There was nothing alarming or sensationalist in Capt. Crozier’s letter,” the statement said. “It was simply a recitation of the bleak facts facing this warship. Capt. Crozier has the full faith and confidence of this crew, who would sail with him again at a moment’s notice.”

Biden backed Capt. Crozier in a tweet on Friday: “Captain Crozier was faithful to his duty—both to his sailors and his country. Navy leadership sent a chilling message about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Admin, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors.”

Biden did not specify whether he believed an officer’s duty was to “speak truth to power” or to communicate that truth up the chain of command in a way that would maintain discipline and military readiness.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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