The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House wanted the warship USS John S. McCain, named for the late Senator, “out of sight” during Trump’s visit to Japan. Not able to move the ship, it was partially covered ahead of his arrival last week.
The DDG-56 Destroyer was undergoing repairs at Yokosuka Naval Base when Trump arrived.
Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the Senator from Arizona, who died in August of 2018 at age 81.
Recall that in 1999, and again on the campaign trail, Trump mocked McCain’s war service saying the Vietnam-era pilot, was no war hero. In 2015 at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, Trump said: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Trump White House Had the Warship’s Name Covered in a Tarp & Some Sailors Got the Day Off
“The White House wanted the USS John McCain ‘out of sight’ for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit,” WSJ reporter Rebecca Ballhaus tweeted. She and Gordon Lubold reported the story Wednesday.
The WSJ obtained an email to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials that in addition to discussing plans for the visit, a separate directive was issued, the WSJ reported.
“USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” the WSJ reported an official directed.
Trump denied knowing anything about it.
“I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.”
The WSJ reported that a “tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the president’s trip,” based on photos the paper reviewed. And, “sailors were directed to remove any coverings from the ship that bore its name.”
The Navy denied the story. Sort of.
And now, Acting United States Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan claims he was not aware of the directive to cloak the ship.
“Attributable to Joe Buccino, spokesman for Secretary Shanahan: “Secretary Shanahan was not aware of the directive to move the USS John S. McCain nor was he aware of the concern precipitating the directive.”
And then there’s the emails.
“Two sources confirm to @CNBC that this is the email showing coordinated efforts to put the USS John McCain “out of sight.”
The Pentagon maintains that Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan was unaware of such plans.”
2. Sailors From the USS John S. McCain Got the Day Off, it was Reported. The Ship Was Undergoing Repairs & Could Not be Moved
The Journal said that USS John S. McCain sailors “were given the day off during Mr. Trump’s visit,” according to its sources. people familiar with the matter said.
Megan McCain, daughter of the late senator, said the move by the Trump White House to disappear the Navy destroyer named for her father, a former prisoner of war, taken after being shot down during the Vietnam War, made her grief all that more difficult with which to cope.
“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.”
3. In 2017, a Collision of the Arleigh Burke-Class Guided-Missile Destroyer With a Liberian Merchant Ship Claimed the Lives of 10 Crew Members
The US destroyer collided with a Liberian merchant vessel on August 21, 2017 off the coast of Singapore. Ten crew were killed and five injured.
A days long search and rescue was suspended. The Navy said the warship sustained damage to its “port side aft” and the major flooding occurred as a result in sections of the ship including “crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.”
A month before, the USS Fitzgerald, part of the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet in the Pacific, collided with a ship which also resulted in fatalities. Seven sailors drowned in their berths aboard the ship in June of 2017 when the destroyer collided with a container ship just south of Japan.
4. In 1992, the 500-Foot Ship Was Launched & Was Commissioned in 1994 in a Ceremony Led by Pres. George H. W. Bush
The keel was laid in 1991 at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. Launched in 1992, the warship was “sponsored” by Cindy McCain, the wife of former Sen. John McCain III. Then-President George H. W. Bush spoke at the commissioning. Originally slated to have as its home port Harbor, Hawaii, it was moved to a “forward-deploy” port in Yokosuka, Japan in 1997.
The full 33-page history of the ship from the day the keel was laid.
5. The Destroyer’s Long History is at Once Distinguished & History-Making
Initially home-ported at Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the ship is currently part of the US Seventh Fleet forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan.
It was in the Persian Gulf in late 1996 in support of Operation Southern Watch, where it took part in “maritime inderdiction operations as part of a force augmentation in the region.”
In 1998, the warship deployed to the Arabian Gulf with the USS Independence Battle Group. In September 1999, McCAIN took part in a Y2K operational testing exercise along with other vessels.
The USS John S. McCain “became the first U.S. Navy ship to do community relations work ashore in war-torn Dili, the capital city of newly independent East Timor. It visited East Timor in 2000.”