Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported that according to an email reviewed by the publication the U.S. Navy was asked to move the warship the USS John S. McCain “out of sight,” ahead of President Trump’s arrival to Japan for a state visit.
The email dated May 15th, was sent to the U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, the sender a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official detailed plans of President Trump’s arrival including one directive that stated, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” the official added, “Please confirm #3 will be satisfied.”
According to pictures reviewed by the Journal a tarp was shown obscuring the name, after the tarp was removed a painted barge was placed hiding the name.
A Navy Seventh Fleet spokesmen Cmdr. Clayton Doss said that both the tarp and barge were removed ahead of President Trump’s arrival.
The President took to Twitter Wednesday evening and denied any knowledge of the request.
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 Washington Post confirmed with a Senior White House Official on Wednesday that the directive happened. According to the official who requested anonymity they “said that the president was not involved in the planning but that the request was made to keep Trump from becoming upset.”
The verified Twitter account for the Navy Chief of Information broke five years of silence on Wednesday evening to address media reports regarding the directive.
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
The New York Times reported that even though the name of the destroyer was not in fact hidden, Navy officials did “give all of the sailors aboard the day off on Tuesday as Mr. Trump visited Yokosuka Naval Base.”
According to two Navy Sailors, who requested anonymity, sailors aboard the USS McCain were not invited to hear President Trump’s speech from aboard the USS Wasp.
Several sailors from the McCain showed up for the speech anyway, but according to one service member they were turned away, for wearing their uniforms with the ship’s insignia.
On Thursday President Trump was asked by reporters about the directive to hide the warships name, he explained that the person that directed it had been “well meaning,” adding he would not have done it.
Asked about report that Navy was asked to move a ship named after John McCain during his recent trip to Japan, Trump denies involvement, but goes on to trash John McCain pic.twitter.com/vDYthPxUIC— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 30, 2019
For the second time in a matter of minutes, Trump trashes John McCain pic.twitter.com/hWYCtN2PIh— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 30, 2019
The ship was originally named after Senator John McCain’s father and grandfather. McCain was included in that honor shortly before his death from brain cancer last August.
Two sources confirm to @CNBC that this is the email showing coordinated efforts to put the USS John McCain “out of sight.”— Amanda Macias (@amanda_m_macias) May 30, 2019
The Pentagon maintains that Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan was unaware of such plans. (H/T @RyanRuggiero) pic.twitter.com/adaZKtp1oE