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3 Apr, 2020 18:39

Carrier captain fired over coronavirus letter becomes latest Resistance icon

Carrier captain fired over coronavirus letter becomes latest Resistance icon

Videos of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt cheering their captain, relieved of command by the Navy amid a Covid-19 controversy, have become a surprise hit among the critics of President Donald Trump, who is getting the blame.

Hundreds of sailors gathered on the deck of the Roosevelt on Thursday night to bid farewell to Captain Brett Crozier, cheering him and chanting his name as he walked off the ship. They showed no sign of concern that doing so might expose them to the coronavirus – which started the entire drama to begin with.

“I've never seen anything quite like it,” said Erik Slavin, writer for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, sharing a Facebook video of Crozier’s sendoff from inside the Roosevelt’s hangar bay.

Another video shows Crozier walking the gangplank onto the pier, as the crew gathers above chanting his name and clapping.

It wasn’t just the crew of the Roosevelt that cheered Crozier on, however – their videos were quickly pressed into service by the gallery of Trump critics on social media, who sought to blame Crozier’s sacking on the president they love to hate.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) said he demanded an internal investigation into the firing of Crozier for “blowing the whistle” on coronavirus conditions on board the Roosevelt.

“We punish people for speaking out like a dictatorship,” complained Dr. Eugene Gu, who obsessively responds to every Trump tweet.

“Shameful” and “outrageous,” said anti-Trump CNN pundit Ana Navarro.

There were many, many other examples, from the rank-and-file Twitter #Resisters to well-known mainstream pundits, all saying the same thing. 

One particular argument brought up by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) – and many others – was that Trump allowed the firing of Crozier but stood up for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes. 

The Gallagher parallel was also invoked by OANN journalist Jack Posobiec, a Navy veteran who is usually pro-Trump but in this case seemed in Crozier’s corner.

Crozier’s name first became public knowledge last week, when he wrote an impassioned plea to the Navy to send his ship back to Guam and allow him to quarantine the crew, as Covid-19 spread rapidly on board in conditions where ‘social distancing’ was impossible. The letter was published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Also on rt.com Shooting the messenger? US Navy SACKS captain for ‘causing alarm’ with plea to save lives of Covid-19-stricken carrier crew

The day before, the Pentagon had decided to stop reporting the details of Covid-19 infections in particular branches of service, commands and bases, citing operational security.

Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly agreed that while Crozier cared for the lives and well-being of his crew, instead of talking to his commanding admiral “right down the passageway,” the captain chose to send a letter via unsecure email, outside the chain of command, and to the general public, which ”made his sailors, their families, and many in the public believe that his letter was the only reason help from our larger Navy family was forthcoming, which was hardly the case.”

Also on rt.com ‘Not even a little bit!’ Trump sees no witch-hunt in US Navy firing Covid-19 whistleblower captain

Asked about Crozier on Thursday, Trump disagreed that the captain’s firing was punishment for seeking to protect his crew. 

The Roosevelt was recalled to Guam from its deployment in the South China Sea last week, and its crew is undergoing tests for the virus and will be quarantined in hotels on shore. 

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