President Donald Trump fired back Wednesday after reports circulated that the White House had ordered the USS John McCain to remain ‘out of sight’ during his 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,” Trump tweeted. “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
A report from the Wall Street Journal published hours earlier had sparked the conversation, blaming Trump’s continued antipathy toward the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and claiming that a tarp had covered the ship’s name and sailors who would normally wear the name of the ship on their caps “were given the day off.”
NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit. w/@gluboldhttps://t.co/6ugPceCOre pic.twitter.com/KuIoWJK5Kt
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) May 29, 2019
The article explained that the order, according to an email a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official sent to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, came from the White House Military Office. The WHMO is responsible for arranging all presidential travel and may or may not have even informed the president prior to making such a request of command officials.
Admin officials confirm WSJ story. Request was made to make sure McCain ship wasn’t visible. Aides say Trump wasn’t involved in request — but it was made to prevent any potential ire from POTUS. More to come: https://t.co/t4jdW2stMo
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) May 30, 2019
The fact that Trump may not have had any idea that the ship was being hidden did nothing to deter critics from blaming him for it anyway.
Shame on all officials involved in this disgraceful episode. But there’s no erasing history. John McCain was a war hero. Donald Trump was a draft dodger. As McCain would say: Facts are stubborn things. https://t.co/W0AOumeMuu
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) May 30, 2019
In case you needed a reminder that the President of the United States is a very small man, this: https://t.co/r7ypyGXn4o
— Bret Stephens (@BretStephensNYT) May 30, 2019
Trump will never be able to erase John McCain from our history. He feels insecure in comparison. Can’t blame him. At most, he’ll get an inner-tube full of hot air, named for him.
White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ During Trump Japan Visit https://t.co/hyjJtxxz9S
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) 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
But several sources, including the official account for the Office of Navy Information, claimed that the photo of the USS John McCain covered with a tarp was actually taken the day before Trump arrived and had been removed by the time he arrived. (RELATED: President And First Lady Take In Traditional Sumo Match In Tokyo)
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
Per @ckubeNBC: A spokesperson for US Pacific Fleet said the picture of the tarp is from Friday and it
was taken down on Saturday.
“All ships remained in normal configuration
during POTUS’ visit,” CDR Nate Christensen said. https://t.co/6is616izgd
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) May 30, 2019
In summary, Caleb Hull tweeted, “If I have everything correct, *someone* in the WH made the request to cover up the USS John McCain, it never happened, and the picture used in the WSJ was not from when Trump was there.”
If I have everything correct, *someone* in the WH made the request to cover up the USS John McCain, it never happened, and the picture used in the WSJ was not from when Trump was there.
Am I missing something? https://t.co/f0cDnL4lMZ
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 30, 2019