According to an email obtained by The Wall Street Journal, during President Donald Trump’s recent trip to Japan, White House staffers worked to ensure that the United States Navy warship named for the late Senator John McCain stayed out of sight, The Hill reports.
The email, which is dated May 15, included a general outline of plans surrounding the president’s trip and included specific instructions with respect to the USS John McCain.
“USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” the email reads. “Please confirm #3 will be satisfied.”
An official close to the matter confirmed that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and others knew about the concern and signed off on measures to ensure that the ship would not be noticeable during Trump’s visit.
The ship has been docked at the Yokosuka Naval Base near the USS Wasp, which is where the president was to deliver his Memorial Day speech and visit with officers. Before the address, the name on the ship was deliberately obscured by a tarp and sailors reportedly worked to remove any coverings or other materials which bore McCain’s name. A barge was supposedly moved to make it more difficult to see the ship from where Trump would be on the deck of the USS Wasp.
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
Also reported in The Wall Street Journal was that sailors who served aboard the USS John McCain, who would typically wear caps featuring the ship’s name, were simply given the day off for Trump’s address.
As media outlets picked up on the story, Trump personally responded to the story.
“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!” he tweeted late Wednesday.
Around the same time, Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter and co-host of The View, likewise weighed in on Twitter, calling the president “a child.”
“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,” she tweeted.
Trump and McCain were frequently at odds during the last years of McCain’s life, with Trump continuing to criticize the late senator even after his death. The president was ultimately not invited to attend McCain’s funeral last fall.