“Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naïve nor stupid,” he said in a statement. “I think, and always believed him to be the opposite.”

Modly went on to describe Crozier as “smart and passionate.”

“I believe, precisely because he is not naive and stupid, that he sent his alarming email with the intention of getting it into the public domain in an effort to draw public attention to the situation on his ship,” Modly said. “I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused. I also want to apologize directly to Captain Crozier, his family, and the entire crew of the Theodore Roosevelt for any pain my remarks may have caused.”

Modly’s new statement came after President Donald Trump addressed the controversy at a news conference, saying he planned to intervene.