WASHINGTON – Interim Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s trip last weekend to speak to sailors aboard COVID-19 hit USS Theodore Roosevelt cost taxpayers more than $ 243,000 for the trip 35 hours on a Gulfstream 550, according to a Navy official.
Modly’s blasphemous speech to the sailors, in which he marked the dismissed captain of the ship as “naive” and “stupid” for asking for help, prompted Modly to resign on Tuesday.
Modly, who is in quarantine after visiting the Roosevelt, saw her offer accepted by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Modly did not meet Esper in person to offer his resignation, according to Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. Hoffman said he would not comment on Modly’s condition; his self-quarantine was confirmed by the naval officer who was not allowed to speak in public.
Resignation from the Navy:Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, has resigned. What we know.
A request for comment from Modly through the Navy was not immediately responded to.
Modly flew on the C-37B, a modified Gulfstream business jet for military use. The hourly cost of his flight is $ 6,946.19, according to the naval officer, who was not authorized to speak publicly. The flight time for Guam’s journey was approximately 35 hours at a cost of $ 243,116.65.
Representative Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Who chairs the Armed Services Committee staff panel, criticized President Donald Trump and the Pentagon leadership for allowing the trip.
“The president should turn his anger on the brain confidence that allowed Modly to fly to Guam at the cost of nearly $ 250,000 – a trip that only exacerbated the situation aboard the USS Roosevelt while still not meeting the needs of the crew, and the fleet, to protect themselves during the COVID-19 epidemic, “she said.
Hoffman said he did not speak to Esper to find out if the cost of the trip was justified.
After transcripts and audio surfaced showing that Modly had disparaged Captain Brett Crozier, whom he had dismissed for sending a letter to Navy officials asking for help, calls for his resignation came up.
Modly initially supported his comments – he said Crozier was “too naive or too stupid” to order an aircraft carrier. During Monday’s White House briefing, Trump said Crozier’s career should not end for what the president described as a mistake. A few hours later, Modly released a statement, apologizing to Crozier.
It was too little, too late. Calls for his resignation have intensified, notably by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Modly’s position has become untenable.
It is unclear whether the crew aboard Modly’s aircraft were also quarantined. The Navy lists the crew as pilot, co-pilot, crew chief, flight attendant and charge.
The Pentagon, when Jim Mattis was secretary of defense, cracked down on the use of military aircraft by senior officials. A policy issued by the then assistant secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, aimed to limit officials to one plane and one crew per trip in order to limit the costs and burden of flight crews, who imposed periods of rest.
Esper has appointed Undersecretary of the Army James McPherson to the position of Acting Secretary of the Navy.
On Wednesday, the Navy reported 286 positive cases for COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which remains docked in Guam. The Navy tested 93% of the crew and moved 2,329 sailors ashore to isolate them. The rest of the 4,800 crew are on board to operate the nuclear reactors, keep the weapons and disinfect the ship.