WASHINGTON – The White House wanted the US Navy to keep a warship named after the late Senator John McCain out of the sight of President Donald Trump during his trip to Japan. An official of the Indo-Pacific Command US, reported by the Wall Street Journal, wrote an e-mail to the Navy and the Air Force about the arrival of Trump in Japan on the weekend of Memorial Day. It contained instructions for proper helicopter landing pads and preparations for the USS Wasp on which the President was to speak.
The officer then issued a third order: "USS John McCain must be out of sight." According to the e-mail received by the journal and whose existence The Associated Press has endorsed.
The three US officials spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss private email correspondence.
When a naval commander surprised the order, the US commando for the Indo-Pacific said, "At first, I heard about it," the Journal reported. The official said he would talk to the White House military office for more information about the directive, the newspaper said.
In response to the story, Trump – who spent years publicly chatting with McCain and ridiculing his military service at some point – tweeted that "during my recent visit to Japan, he was not informed of anything that happened to the naval ship USS John S McCain has to do ".
In particular, the President does not say that he had not been informed about the ship before his visit to Japan. Late Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders left a message for clarification.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, incumbent Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Thursday morning, "When I read about it this morning, it was the first time I read about it, I've heard about it." When asked if he would investigate, Shanahan said he needed to know more first.
The Wall Street Journal reported that before the arrival of Trump, a tarp above the name of USS John S. McCain had been instructed to remove all coverings from the ship that contained the name.
US Navy Cdr. Clay Doss, spokesman for the 7th US Fleet, told the AP that the tarpaulin was on board on Friday, but was removed on Saturday morning, the day Trump arrived. "All ships remained in normal configuration during the president's visit," he said.
Two US officials told the AP that all ships in the harbor were in line for Trump's visit and were visible from the USS Wasp. However, officials said that most of their names were unlikely to be seen because they stood side by side, but that the name of the USS John S. McCain could be seen from the pier.
Asked if the tarp was destined to block Trump's view of the ship, the officials said the tarpaulin was placed on the ship for maintenance and removed for the visit.
Rear Adm. Navy Public Affairs Officer Charlie Brown tweeted Wednesday night: "The name of the USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day and the Navy is proud of this ship, its crew, its namesake and its legacy.
Two US officials said a color ship John S. McCain was in front of the USS on Saturday morning when officers from the 7th Fleet entered the pier to see what it looked like after the visit. The launch was then ordered to be moved and was gone when Trump arrived, officials said.
The Journal reported, based on people familiar with the matter, that sailors on USS John S. McCain usually wear hats with the ship's name they were given the day Trump visited them.
Two US officials told the AP that the USS John S. McCain sailors were not ordered to stay away, but that many were gone for the long weekend. The officers also said that about 800 sailors out of more than 20 ships and naval commandos were on the USS Wasp during the president's visit, and all wore the same navy hat without a logo instead of carrying individual ship or commando hats.
Trump and McCain had a frosty relationship, which was continued by Trump's side, even after McCain had died of brain cancer in August 2018.
In 2015, McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, fell under the skin of then-candidate Trump. He had "fueled the insane" at a rally in Phoenix. Trump, also a Republican, later told a crowd in Iowa that McCain was just a war hero, "because he was captured, I like people who were not captured."
After Trump took office, McCain established himself as a leading critic. He warned against Trump's immigration restrictions, warned him against coziness with Moscow, and lectured him on the illegality of torture. The Senator cheered the president with his thumbs-down voice defeating the president's efforts to lift President Barack Obama's health bill.
Trump was unwelcome at McCain's funeral, and shortly after McCain's funeral raised the US White House flag back to full-bodied death, despite the US Flag Code indicating that he should stay with half of the workforce for another day. The flag returned half of the staff later in the day.
McCain's daughter Meghan tweeted Wednesday that Trump "will always be deeply threatened by the magnitude of my father's incredible life."
She added, "There are many critics criticizing how much I talk about my father, but nine months after he passed away, Trump does not let him break, so I have to stand up for him."
makes my grief unbearable. "