President Donald Trump denied knowing of a White House effort to keep the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan and a trip to visit Armed Forces in the Pacific.
“I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Nevertheless, the first lady and I loved being with our great Military Men and Women – what a spectacular job they do!” he wrote.
Leaked emails between the White House Military Office and the Navy Seventh Fleet showed the White House working to make sure that the ship did not interfere with the president’s visit, according to the Wall Street Journal. A source identified as a “U.S. official” claimed that Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan knew about the effort to hide the ship, but the Pentagon denied the story in a statement.
“Secretary Shanahan was not aware of the directive to move the USS John S McCain nor was he aware of the concern precipitating the directive,” a spokesman told reporters.
Sailors aboard the ship reportedly received the day off while sailors on some of the other ships attended Trump’s speech aboard the USS Wasp.
The USS John S. McCain is named after John McCain Sr., not John McCain Jr. – the senator who deeply vexed President Donald Trump before McCain’s death in August 2018.
The Navy reportedly covered the ship with a tarp and moved a barge in front of the ship to hide it, while it was being repaired. The Wall Street Journal reviewed photos of the ship.
But a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet told NBC News that the photo in the Wall Street Journal article was from Friday and the tarp was taken down on Saturday. The President visited the troops on Monday. The ship is currently under repair after crashing into a merchant ship in 2017, killing 10 sailors.
The Navy also clarified the report on Twitter.
The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage.
— Navy Chief of Information (@chinfo) May 30, 2019
McCain’s daughter Meghan voiced her criticism of the president on Twitter.
“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dad’s incredible life. There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him,” she wrote. “It makes my grief unbearable.”
I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan. Nevertheless, @FLOTUS and I loved being with our great Military Men and Women – what a spectacular job they do!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.
It makes my grief unbearable. https://t.co/gUbFAla1VE
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) May 30, 2019