President Donald Trump said Thursday whoever asked for the name of USS John S McCain to be covered before his visit to sailors in Japan was ‘well-meaning’ and went on to add he ‘wasn’t’ a fan of the late senator.
He admitted he was angry when Sen. John McCain voted no on a Republican bill to overturn President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a move that ended GOP efforts to kill Obamacare, but said he would never ask the Navy to move a ship.
“Now somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, OK, and they were well meaning, I will say,” Trump said. “I didn’t know anything about that. I would never have done that.”
Trump’s second denial came after The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House wanted the Navy to move the destroyer “out of sight,” citing an email between military officials. Trump denied he wasn’t behind it and said they could probably find out who made the request of the Navy.
The instructions that “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight” were included in a May 15 email to US Navy and Air Force officials along with other details such as where to land the president’s helicopter, according to WSJ.
Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan also denies involvement saying,”I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Sen. John McCain.” He has ordered a review of the incident.
It’s unclear who at the White House reached out to raise concerns about the presence of the USS McCain. The Journal reported that the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Navy and the White House were involved in discussions.
Trump has frequently lashed out at McCain, targeting the senator for criticism even after his death last year following a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
Trump did not deny that the order was made, but claimed he had nothing to do with obscuring the ship’s name.