Navy Confirms White House Request To ‘Hide’ USS John McCain
The Navy is confirming that it did receive a request from the White House to keep the USS John McCain "out of sight" during the President's visit to an American base in Japan.
Several days after the initial report in The Wall Street Journal that still unnamed White House officials had asked the United States Navy to hide the USS John McCain from view during President’s visit to an American base in Japan, the Navy has finally acknowledged that it did receive the request:
The U.S. Navy confirmed Saturday that a “request was made” to “minimize the visibility” of the USS John S. McCain during President Donald Trump’s state visit to Japan.
“A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit,” Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, chief of Navy information, said in a statement.
“There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain,” the statement said.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Wednesday that the White House wanted to move the destroyer — named partly for the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — “out of sight” ahead of Trump’s trip to Tokyo earlier this month.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that he “was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan,” and told reporters at the White House on Thursday that whoever was responsible for the request was “well-meaning.”
“The Navy is fully cooperating with the review of this matter tasked by the Secretary of Defense,” Brown said in his statement Saturday. “Our forward-deployed Naval forces continue to stand ready to execute their assigned missions.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper shared some more details about what happened on his Twitter feed this morning:
Despite the Navy’s denial, it has been reported by several media outlets that unidentified sailors from the USS McCain have verified that they were turned away from the President’s event where he spoke to sailors at the base. It’s not clear, though, if they were turned away by Navy officials or by White House advance people who were controlling access to the event. Although it seems more likely that, if it happened, it was done by people affiliated with the White House. This is especially true given both the manner in which Navy officials have reacted to these reporters and the comments of Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who was recently nominated to be Secretary of Defense, that he would not have authorized compliance with the request had he known about it.
This is hardly the biggest news out there, of course, nor is it the most egregious thing that this Administration has done. It’s an issue because this is just another example of the contempt that this Administration has shown for McCain even after his death. It started of course, with the President’s comment in the early weeks of his campaign for President that he “likes heroes who weren’t captured,” a clear rebuke of the five years that McCain’s five years as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam despite the fact that he could have been released much earlier due to the fact that his father was the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at the time. This contempt was also shared by White House aides, including one who made a widely reported joke about McCain dying back in 2018. While Trump thankfully stayed away from McCain’s funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, he has continued to attack McCain even after his death. Given all of that, it’s not surprising that his aides would request the Navy to block out reminders of the late Senator during the President’s visit. At the very least it’s a sign of just what kind of people Trump hires, and the kind of White House he runs, and none of it bodes well.