171213-N-VA840-004 TOKYO BAY, Japan (Dec. 13, 2017) – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is towed to the pier at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka. John S. McCain will undergo repairs at Ship Repair Facility Japan Regional Maintenance Center in Yokosuka. (U. S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leonard Adams Jr. /Released)
According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House wanted the USS McCain “out of sight” during President Trump’s recent visit to Japan. They reported that “U.S. military officials worked to ensure President Trump wouldn’t see the warship that bears the name of the late senator, a frequent target of the president’s ire.”
The Wall Street Journal claims they obtained an email, dated May 15, sent by a U.S. Into-Pacific Command official to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials. The email discussed plans for Trump’s stay in Japan which the official said “had resulted from conversations between the White House Military Office and the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy. In addition to instructions for the proper landing areas for helicopters and preparation for the USS Wasp—where the president was scheduled to speak—the official issued a third directive: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight. Please confirm #3 will be satisfied.”
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Thursday in Singapore that “I never authorized, I never approved any action around the movement or activity regarding that ship. I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Sen. John McCain.” He added that “he would never disrespect the young men and women in the crew of the ship. He also said the military “needs to do their job” and stay out of politics.”
He has asked his chief of staff to investigate the matter.
Trump denied the report tweeting that “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!”
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
The Wall Street Journal reported that photos “showed that a tarp was placed over the ship’s name before Trump’s arrival.”
Navy spokesman, Cmdr. Clay Doss, issued a statement saying that “the photo of the tarp is from Friday and it was taken down on Saturday. Paint barge was also removed ahead of the visit. All ships remained in normal configuration during the President’s visit.”
Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, Navy public affairs officer, tweeted that “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.”
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, tweeted Wednesday that:
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.
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
The ship was named after Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather. Shortly before his death in August 2018, the senator’s name was added.
As the world knows, during the 2016 primaries, then-candidate Donald Trump said in reference to McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured.” It certainly wasn’t one of Trump’s finest moments. And it ignited a feud that persisted for the short remainder of McCain’s life.
McCain famously provided the decisive vote against the Obamacare repeal bill. He criticized Trump’s “approach to politics as a “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
McCain made it known he did not want President Trump to attend his funeral. As we all know, McCain’s funeral turned into a Paul Wellstonesque political event.
The McCain family has also announced that they will be offering their support to Joe Biden in 2020.
Meghan McCain would do well to remember that her father was a good man who certainly went through a horrifying ordeal and we all salute him for his service to the country. I understand that, in her eyes, he was a great man. However, like Trump, he was a human being with flaws. He was capable of pettiness and vindictiveness as all of us are.
To say that Trump will not allow him to RIP is an enormous exaggeration. McCain was a public figure and it’s only natural that his name will be mentioned in the news, in both positive and negative ways. She really doesn’t need to remind us of her unbearable grief every time it does.