Acting U.S. Navy secretary apologizes to carrier commander after rebuke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued an apology on Monday to the former commander of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier after sharply criticizing him in a speech to his crew, just days after firing him.

"I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid," Modly said amid calls for his removal, including from the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, a Democrat.

The apology, which Modly also extended to the carrier's crew and Crozier's family, was a reversal from a statement the Navy's top civilian issued hours earlier that said: "I stand by every word I said."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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