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White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ for Trump: Report

May 30, 2019, 12:28 PM UTC
The White House called for the U.S. Navy to move the warship USS John S. McCain “out of sight” before President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an email reviewed by the newspaper.A U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official, in an email May 15 to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, laid out proposals for Trump’s arrival that he said had resulted from talks between the White House Military Office and the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, according to the WSJ. That included the directive: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” according to the Journal. “Please confirm #3 will be satisfied,” the newspaper cited the official as writing.

The ship is currently under repair and difficult to move following a 2017 collision, the newspaper said. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of Trump’s visit, according to the WSJ, citing photos it reviewed. Sailors were directed to remove any coverings from the ship that bore its name, the Journal said. It also reported that sailors on the ship who typically wear hats with the vessel’s name on it were given the day off.

The White House declined to respond to queries about the reason for the directive or where it came from, the WSJ said. Trump himself subsequently tweeted:

Meanwhile, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday that he hadn’t had knowledge of any such events.

“I never authorized, I never approved any action around the movement or activity regarding that ship. Furthermore, I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Senator McCain,” he told reporters while en route Singapore. “I also think it is important, I’d never disrespect the young men and women that crew that ship. I’ve asked my chief of staff to look into the matter.”Trump has repeatedly attacked John McCain, who died in August, saying the late senator wrongly supported the war in Iraq, failed to “get the job done” for veterans and “badly” hurt the Republican party and the nation by voting against repealing Obamacare.

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