Update: Just minutes after the WSJ story hit, Trump responded with an tweet, thanksing the military service-members for the “spectacular job” they are doing, but denying the WSJ story: “I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.”
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
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As we detailed earlier, Donald Trump’s vendetta with John McCain has reportedly crossed over into the afterlife.
Ahead of Trump’s visit to Japan this past weekend, the White House asked the U.S. Navy to move “out of sight” a warship named for the late Senator John McCain, the WSJ reported citing according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The email dated May 15 to Navy and Air Force officials, outlined plans for the president’s arrival and included instructions for the proper landing areas for helicopters and preparation for the USS Wasp – where Trump was scheduled to speak – the official issued a third directive: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight” the email said. “Please confirm #3 will be satisfied.“
The ship has been stationed at the Yokosuka Naval Base near the USS Wasp, where Trump delivered Memorial Day remarks and visited U.S. officers.
As the WSJ adds, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan was aware of the concern about the presence of the USS John McCain in Japan and approved measures to ensure it didn’t interfere with the president’s visit, a U.S. official said.
When a Navy commander expressed surprise about the directive for the USS John McCain, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official replied: “First I heard of it as well.” He said he would work with the White House Military Office to obtain more information about the order.
Before Trump’s address, a tarp was hung over the USS John McCain’s name and sailors were reportedly directed to remove any coverings that showed the ship’s name. A barge was also reportedly moved near the ship to make it harder to see its name from the USS Wasp.
The animosity between Trump and John McCain, and even his name, was so great that the sailors on the ship, who normally wear caps with its name, were given the day off when Trump gave his address.
Speaking to the roughly 800 military men and women, some of whom wore “Make Aircrew Great Again” patches with a likeness of the president on their jumpsuits, Mr. Trump said he was joined by sailors from six other ships. He made no mention of the USS John McCain.
Trump also visited two military outfits to cap off his weekend trip to Japan. The president then met with U.S. troops aboard the USS Wasp, where he wished them a “very happy Memorial Day.” As we reported previously, over the course of his 30-minute visit, Trump critiqued plans to change the design of some aircraft carriers’ catapults, recounted his trip to Japan and praised those aboard for their service.
The White House declined to answer questions about the reason for the directive or where it originated. The White House Military Office provides support for presidential travel, among other matters.
In July 2018, a month before the death of McCain’s – who feuded repeatedly with Trump in his last years – the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer formally added McCain as a namesake of the USS John McCain, which had been named for his father and grandfather after it launched in 1994. McCain said at the time that he was “deeply honored.”
In August 2017, the USS John McCain collided with a merchant vessel, killing 10 sailors and tearing a hole in the left rear side of the destroyer. Trump, asked about the collision at the time, told reporters: “That’s too bad.” He later tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with the sailors aboard the ship.