U. S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann
- The White House requested that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John S. McCain be hidden from view during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, The Wall Street Journal first reported.
- The US Navy has stated repeatedly that no steps were taken to hide the destroyer. Questions, however, remain about the treatment of the McCain sailors.
- The McCain’s crew, unlike every other ship in the harbor, was not invited to send sailors to attend the president’s Memorial Day address. Instead, the sailors of the McCain were given the day off, the New York Times, citing Navy service members and officials, reported.
- When several McCain sailors, dressed in their uniforms, tried to attend the speech, they were reportedly turned away.
- Both the president and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan have denied any knowledge of the directives pertaining to the USS John S. McCain.
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Not only did the White House request that the USS John S. McCain be "out of sight" during President Donald Trump’s Memorial Day address to US troops serving in Japan, but the ship’s sailors were reportedly turned away when they tried to attend the event.
Every US Navy warship sitting in the harbor, except for the McCain, was invited to send around 60-70 sailors to hear the president’s address, the New York Times reported, citing a US service member stationed at the naval base in Yokosuka. McCain sailors were reportedly given the day off. Some sailors from the McCain showed up anyway hoping to attend, but they were turned away.
The White House sent an email to the Navy prior to the president’s visit to Japan requesting that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named after several generations of the McCain family, including Trump’s long-time rival Sen. John McCain, be hidden from view, CNN reported.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan "was not aware of the directive to move the USS John S McCain nor was he aware of the concern precipitating the directive," Lt. Colonel Joe Buccino, a spokesman for the secretary, said in an emailed statement.
Shanahan told reporters that he would look into the matter.
President Trump has denied having any knowledge of any plans related to the relocation or hiding of the McCain.
Trump later said he doesn’t care whether the McCain is present or not. "They thought they were doing me a favor because I’m not a fan of John McCain," Trump told reporters Thursday, adding, "Certainly I couldn’t care less whether there’s a boat named after his father." The destroyer is also named after the late senator and his grandfather.
The Navy has stressed repeatedly that the service did not take any steps to hide the McCain as the White House is said to have requested.
"All ships remained in normal configuration during the President’s visit," Cmdr. Clay Doss, a 7th Fleet spokesman, told Stars and Stripes.
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