White House and U.S. Navy officials confirmed late Wednesday that they had tried to keep the name of the USS John S. McCain hidden during President Trump’s visit to Japan so that it would not appear in any pictures.
Much has been made of White House staff working to keep their boss calm, and this may have been the motive for a May 15 email between U.S. Navy and Air Force officials that included the line, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The ship was named after McCain’s father and grandfather, and his name was added in 2018 just before the senator succumbed to brain cancer at age 81.
Trump denied any knowledge that aides had shielded him from seeing the name of the warship during his trip to Japan over Memorial Day weekend.
“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!”
The Navy “went to great lengths to shield Trump from seeing the ship,” The Washington Post reported.
Two Navy officials confirmed to CNN Wednesday night that the White House Military Office asked lower-level US Navy officials about keeping the ship out of view. One of the Navy officials further clarified Thursday morning that the discussion included obscuring the ship or moving it, which was not practical because the ship was under repairs at the time.
Trump’s and the late Arizona Republican senator’s enmity was legion, especially at the end of McCain’s life when he pushed back hard against numerous policy edicts and then made sure the president would not be present at his funeral. McCain died of brain cancer last August at age 81.
As recently as March, Trump was trashing the late Vietnam war hero, former prisoner of war, and elder statesman.
His daughter, Meghan McCain, is left to defend his legacy, and she did so, also via Twitter, with gusto.
“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life,” McCain tweeted. “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.”
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