The White House asked Navy officials to obscure the U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Japan, according to reports.
According to two Navy officials quoted by CNN, White House Military Office and lower-level U.S. Navy officials exchanged emails about moving the Navy warship ahead of Trump’s visit. Plan to move the warship out of view was later scrapped by senior Navy officials, the reports added.
The New York Times reported that the warship’s crew members, who have the writing “USS John S McCain” on their caps, were sent home for the long weekend, along with the crew from another ship.
USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer of the U.S. Navy commissioned in 1994, was initially named after late Senator John S. McCain, III’s father, Adm. John S. McCain, Jr., a former U.S. Pacific Command commander; and his grandfather, Adm. John S. McCain, a distinguished World War II carrier task force commander. On July 12 last year, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer inducted Sen. John S. McCain III into the official namesake.
Trump and McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, were frequently at odds before and during Trump’s presidency, up to McCain’s death due to brain cancer last August, according to CNN report. In 2015, Trump attacked McCain — who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam — as “not a war hero” as “he was captured” and again criticized the senator from Arizona after he died – the report added.
The Navy Chief of Information (CHINFO) said in a twitter statement that the “name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day”. The tweet was its first in five years and the statement did not deny that an initial request was made.
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
Trump said in a tweet that he “was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan”.
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
USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017. Ten sailors were killed in the incident and five injured. The ship is expected to complete repairs in late 2019.