President Donald Trump has denied he was aware of the relocation of a guided-missile destroyer bearing the name of his late congressional nemesis after a story that he’d ordered the Navy to move it “out of sight” enraged critics.
“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 on Wednesday, pouring cold water on a Wall Street Journal story published earlier that day that had claimed an email to Navy and Air Force officials had specifically requested the ship “needs to be out of sight.”
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
The story claimed that a tarpaulin had been put in place to hide the McCain’s name and that sailors assigned to the vessel had removed coverings printed with the name, even taking the day off so as not to offend the president with their caps, which also bore the dreaded name, when he visited the USS Wasp, berthed nearby.
A Navy spokesman confirmed Trump’s version of events, stating that “all ships remained in normal configuration during the president’s visit.” Neither Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan nor a Pentagon spokesman had heard anything about the order.
But truth in this case came too late for the inevitable burst of Twitter-outrage, led by the late senator’s daughter Meghan McCain, a strident Trump critic. Calling the president a “child” and “deeply threatened by the greatness of my dad’s incredible life,” she complained the story made her grief “unbearable.”