FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
(Reuters) – Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said on Thursday that the Trump administration showed “poor judgment” in relieving the commander of an aircraft carrier who sought stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak onboard.
“Donald Trump’s Acting Navy Secretary shot the messenger – a commanding officer who was faithful to both his national security mission and his duty to care for his sailors, and who rightly focused attention on a broader concern about how to maintain military readiness during this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement to Reuters.
“And the Navy sent a chilling message to the rest of the fleet about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Administration, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors.”
The commander, Captain Brett Crozier, was removed from command after writing a scathing letter to Navy leadership about conditions on the nuclear-powered carrier that leaked to the public.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Shri Navaratnam