Thompson, Huffman Request Immediate Dismissal of Acting Navy Secretary

Apr 7, 2020
Press Release
Cites Modly’s remarks about Captain Crozier

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02) wrote to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asking him to remove Acting Secretary Thomas Modly, citing Modly’s unacceptable attack on Captain Crozier in remarks to Crozier’s former crew. In that address, he called Crozier stupid and naïve for alerting Navy leadership to the dangers of the spread of Coronavirus among his crew. A copy of the letter is below.

The Honorable Mark T. Esper
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Esper:

We request the immediate dismissal of Thomas Modly from his position as Acting Secretary of the Navy. In the midst an unprecedented health crisis, the Acting Secretary recklessly attacked the character of Captain Brett Crozier in his remarks to the entire crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Monday, 6 April. His decision to dismiss Captain Crozier before the completion of a thorough and transparent investigation followed by his remarks that Captain Crozier was “either too naïve, or too stupid to be a commanding officer” show an alarming lack of judgment and leadership by the head of the Department of Navy.

Captain Crozier acted with only the best interest of his crew in mind and showed an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of the sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The Secretary of the Navy and the entire Department of Defense should be focused on the health of our men and women in uniform, not closing ranks and slandering a good man who has served his nation honorably. We are deeply concerned that the recent actions of Acting Secretary of Navy Modly risks losing the confidence of men and women in uniform. Thomas Modly is unfit to lead the Department of Navy.

We ask for your direct attention to this matter.


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rep. Thompson is Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is also Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition.