Officials Dispute USS John S. McCain's Name Was Covered During Trump Visit

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

May 30, 2019

USS John S. McCain Tracking North Korea Ship

Officials with the U.S. Navy are pushing back against a report that they tried to keep a warship named for the late Sen. John McCain's father and grandfather out of sight during President Donald Trump's recent trip to Japan.

According to the report published by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, a request from the White House's military office wanted the Navy to keep the guided-missile destroyer "out of sight" according to an email obtained by the paper.

A U.S. Navy officials told ABC News that there had been an effort by lower level officers to comply with the request and a tarp was placed on the destroyer's stern where the ship's name was located. However, Navy officials said the tarp removed the next day by leadership who had decided all the ships in the Yokosuka Naval base should adhere to Navy regulations.

The Navy's spokesman, Adm. Charlie Brown, wrote on Twitter that the ship's name was not obscured on Memorial Day at the time of President Trump's visit.

"The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day," Adm. Charlie Brown tweeted. "The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage."

The Navy also pushed back against reports that the crew on the USS John S. McCain had been ordered to stay away from the President's visit. Officials say all U.S. Navy personnel on the base were given 96 hours of leave. Sailors were not authorized to wear ball caps with their ship's name on it in an effort to maintain uniformity among the sailors. Instead, all sailors were required to wear their 8-point service covers.

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the deceased Senator, responded to The Wall Street Journal's story on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, calling Trump a "child."

"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."

The destroyer has been in drydock for the past year undergoing a massive repair effort after the vessel collided with a tanker in Singapore in August 2017 that killed 10 sailors.

Trump denied having anything to do with covering up the warship's name on Twitter.

"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!" Trump wrote Wednesday night.

On Thursday morning, Trump followed up with reporters, saying he believed the person who initiated the idea was "well-meaning."

Photo: Getty Images

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