Washington, May 30 (IANS) The White House asked Navy officials to hide the USS John S. McCain warship while President Donald Trump was visiting Japan, US officials said.
A senior Navy official told The Washington Post on Wednesday night that he was aware someone at the White House sent a message to service officials in the Pacific requesting that the USS John McCain be kept out of the picture while the President was in Japan.
That led to photographs taken on May 24 of a tarp obscuring the McCain name, said the official.
When senior Navy officials grasped what was happening, they directed Navy personnel who were present to stop, the senior official said. The tarp was removed on May 25, before Trump’s visit, he added.
The crew of the McCain also was not invited to Trump’s visit, which occurred on the USS Wasp. But a Navy official said it was because the crew was released from duty for the long holiday weekend, along with sailors from another ship, the USS Stethem.
A senior White House official also confirmed that they did not want the destroyer with the McCain name seen in photographs.
The official said the President was not involved in the planning, but the request was made to keep Trump from being upset during the visit.
Trump tweeted Wednesday night that he wasn’t involved.
“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!” he wrote.
Meghan McCain, who is quick to come to her father’s defence, immediately blasted Trump on Twitter.
“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dad’s incredible life,” she 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.”
Before John McCain’s death in August 2018, the Navy added the senator’s name to the ship, already named the USS John McCain after his father and grandfather, both admirals.
The ship is stationed in Japan, where it’s being repaired after a fatal crash in 2017.