WASHINGTON – President Theodore Roosevelt's great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt weighed in on the controversy over the firing of Navy Captain Brett Crozier in an opinion piece published on Friday, calling Crozier "a hero" for standing up for the crew of the aircraft carrier named for his famous ancestor.
Crozier was fired as the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt just four days after he pleaded for help as the coronavirus ravaged his crew.
Roosevelt said his great-grandfather would have done the same thing.
"I often wonder, in situations like this, what Theodore Roosevelt would have done," Tweed Roosevelt wrote in the op-ed published in the New York Times. "In this case, though, I know exactly what he would have done. In 1898, he found himself in almost the exact same position."
Tweed Roosevelt, a university professor, said Theodore Roosevelt had circulated a "fiery" letter in the press to publicize the risks posed to soldiers by yellow fever and malaria as the Spanish-American War concluded — a "far worse enemy."
Theodore Roosevelt's letter caused a public outcry that forced the withdrawal and quarantine of soldiers from Cuba, Tweed Roosevelt wrote. Theodore Roosevelt still paid a political price and was passed over for a Medal of Honor.
"In this era when so many seem to place expediency over honor, it is heartening that so many others are showing great courage, some even risking their lives," Roosevelt concluded. "Theodore Roosevelt, in his time, chose the honorable course. Captain Crozier has done the same."
Last Sunday, Crozier sent a letter to the U.S. Navy, seeking to evacuate and isolate the crew as cases of coronavirus infection increased on the vessel.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Crozier "exercised extremely poor judgement" in circulating the letter broadly via email, which created "panic" on the ship.
The letter, which was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, had asked for "decisive action" as the coronavirus spread onboard.
"We are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily," Crozier wrote.
Videos posted on social media showed sailors of the aircraft carrier cheering and clapping for their commander as he walked off the ship and saluted the crew.
Someone in the video says, "and that's how you send off one of the greatest captains you've ever had," and adding "The GOAT [Greatest Of All Time], the man for the people.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Theodore Roosevelt descendant calls Crozier 'a hero'