- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2020

President Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of the U.S. Navy on Thursday said that if confirmed, he will continue to support the ongoing investigation into the ousted captain of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt.

In his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kenneth Braithwaite, the current U.S. ambassador to Norway, said he also supported a decision to broaden the inquiry.

“Whenever you’re confronted with a challenge like this, it’s best to pause, consider all the facts and then make the right decision,” Mr. Braithwaite told the panel.

“I learned that in flight school as a young naval aviator, that whenever any bell or whistle went off in your cockpit, the most important thing to do is to sit on your hands for two seconds … because then you can assess the problem correctly before shutting down the wrong system.”

Capt. Brett Crozier was fired in early April after a letter he wrote asking for help following a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship was leaked to the press.

He later tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and remained in quarantine on Guam until he was medically cleared. The crew gave him a rousing send-off from the Roosevelt.

Former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who fired Capt. Crozier, handed in his own resignation after he flew to Guam and gave a brief, profanity-laced speech to the crew over the intercom where he insulted the ship’s now-former commander.

After an initial inquiry into the incident reportedly recommended that Capt. Crozier be returned to command, the current acting Navy secretary ordered a follow-up investigation. It is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

He has since been assigned duties as a “special assistant” to the command’s chief of staff.

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