The White House asked the U.S. Navy to move a warship named for the late Sen. John McCain “out of sight” ahead of President Trump’s visit to Japan, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ reporter Rebecca Ballhaus tweeted a photo of a tarp covering the name on the USS John McCain ahead of the president’s trip. The report says sailors were also directed to remove any coverings bearing the ship’s name.
Sailors on the ship, who typically wear caps with its name, were given the day off during Trump’s visit, sources told the WSJ.
Trump was in Japan for four days, arriving on Saturday. On Tuesday, Trump was aboard the USS Wasp, which is stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base along with USS John McCain.
Joined by sailors from six other ships, he wished more than 800 service members a “happy Memorial Day.” Several service members aboard the Wasp wore round patches bearing the likeness of Trump and the words: “Make Aircrew Great Again.”
According to the WSJ, the White House did not state a reason for the directive to keep USS John McCain out of sight, nor did it say where the directive came from.
President Trump said in a tweet Wednesday that he knew nothing about the directive.
Before Sen. John McCain passed away from a yearlong battle with brain cancer, he and Trump have often been at odds.
Trump said during his 2016 campaign that he doesn’t think McCain is a hero because he was captured in Vietnam. McCain was tortured and held prisoner for more than five years.
Sen. McCain scuttled the GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, famously signaling his vote with a thumbs down. Trump has called McCain’s vote “disgraceful,” and many outlets cite this as the source of Trump’s ire with the late senator.
McCain’s family did not invite Trump to the senator’s funeral, instead asking former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies. In the months since McCain’s death, Trump has repeatedly attacked him on Twitter and in public comments.
In March, Trump said in an Ohio speech that he gave McCain “the kind of funeral he wanted” and “I didn’t get a thank you.” He also said "I've never liked him much," adding that he "probably never will."
In response to the WSJ report Wednesday, Meghan McCain, the late senator's daughter, turned to Twitter yet again to express her frustrations with Trump's behavior:
“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads 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."