President Donald Trump indicated that whoever took the initiative to obscure the USS John S. McCain during the president’s trip to Japan was “well-meaning,” and a copy of the recently infamous email detailing the orders has now been obtained, as CNBC reports.
“I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way, shape or form,” Trump said to reporters on the White House’s South Lawn. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, OK? And they were well-meaning. I will say, I didn’t know anything about it. I would never have done that.”
The email itself, which was obtained by CNBC and confirmed by multiple sources, included a number of generally unremarkable tactical orders, but also matter-of-factly adds to the list an item about the ship.
“3. USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” the order reads.
Earlier in the memo, there is another reference to that particular item.
“Also, please confirm #3 will be satisfied,” it reads.
The existence of the email was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which detailed efforts that the Navy undertook to ensure that the warship named for the late Senator John McCain remained out of sight, as The Hill reported.
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 delivered his Memorial Day speech and visited 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.
Here's the email telling the Navy to hide the USS John McCain https://t.co/k1i8WgQWCw— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) May 30, 2019
Meghan McCain, co-host of The View and John McCain’s daughter, sharply criticized the move on Twitter.
“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 often at odds prior to McCain’s death, with Trump continuing to criticize the late senator even after his passing.