Pentagon chief defends firing of navy captain who voiced virus concern Apr 06, 2020 0 1570 12345 AFPWASHINGTONUS Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the firing of a naval commander whose plea for help for a coronavirus-affected crew angered his superiors but drew widespread public support.Esper told ABC that Navy Secretary Thomas Modly “made a tough decision, tough call” in deciding to fire Captain Brett Crozier, commander of the carrier USS Roosevelt, whose plea to the Pentagon to allow him to quickly vacate the ship after it docked in Guam became public.Asked about a report that President Donald Trump wanted Crozier fired, Esper replied, “This was the secretary’s call. He came and briefed me ... It was the secretary’s call. I told him I would support it.”The firing was widely condemned as a callous and unfair punishment of a respected officer who was looking out for the welfare of his crew. “We are not at war,” Crozier pleaded in a letter to superiors. “Sailors do not need to die.” But some senior Pentagon officials said Crozier erred by letting his plea go public.Crozier “demonstrated extremely poor judgment in the middle of a crisis,” creating unnecessary worry for family members, Modly said.Former vice president Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate for president, sharply condemned the firing on Sunday, telling ABC it was “close to criminal.” Biden said Crozier should have gotten “a commendation” -- not dismissal.- Protection and readiness -Video that quickly went viral showed hundreds of sailors cheering Crozier as he left his ship Friday.Esper declined Sunday to say whether other Pentagon leaders agreed with the firing, pointing to an ongoing investigation. He told CNN that more than half the Roosevelt’s 4,800-member crew had now been tested for the coronavirus. In all, 155 sailors tested positive but none required hospitalization. RELATED ARTICLES Pope livestreams Palm Sunday mass due to virus ‘tragedy’ Apr 06, 2020 0 154 Britain warns of tougher social distancing measures Apr 06, 2020 0 1021 Spanish premier in plea for ‘coronabonds’ crisis funding Apr 06, 2020 0 146 Man spits at woman in German supermarket in row over distancing RIEDRICHSHAFEN: Police in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen are looking for a man who spat at a woman in a supermarket during a row about keeping a safe distance during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The two .. Coronavirus hospital blaze near Moscow kills construction worker MOSCOW: A fire at a construction site for a coronavirus treatment hospital near Moscow has killed one worker, state news agency Tass reported on Sunday, citing civil protection officials. The fire broke out at a .. Democratic convention may be ‘virtual’: Biden WASHINGTON: White House hopeful Joe Biden said on Sunday he would wear a mask in public amid the coronavirus pandemic and that the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating convention might need to be “virtual” to .. Republican convention to go ahead in August: Trump WASHINGTON: Republicans will hold their presidential nominating convention in August in Charlotte, North Carolina, US President Donald Trump said on Saturday evening, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that .. Italy records lowest virus death toll in over two weeks AFP Rome ITALY on Sunday recorded its lowest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus in over two weeks and saw the number of critical care patients decline for the second day. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities ..