WASHINGTON — Before then-President Donald Trump visited a U.S. Navy base in Japan in 2019, his team asked officials to keep a ship named in honor of one of the Republican rivals of Trump — the late Sen. John McCain — out of sight, newly released Navy emails confirm.
When reports of the White House request initially surfaced, Navy officials told reporters of a paint tarp that obscured the ship’s name in the days leading up to Trump’s visit for maintenance – but the documents released Wednesday confirm that was false.
“The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during POTUS’s visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day,” Charlie Brown, then the Navy’s chief information officer, said in a tweet on Tuesday. May 29, 2019. “The Navy is proud of this ship, her crew, her namesake and her legacy.
What Brown did not say was that the Navy had taken steps to mask the missile destroyer ahead of the president’s Memorial Day visit, as requested by the White House, but later reversed them. .
On May 15, 2019, the White House Military Office relayed a request to “keep McCain out of sight” during the 45th President’s visit on May 27, 2019 to Yokosuka Naval Base, about 35 miles south of Tokyo. , according to an internal Navy email dated May 24 of this year.
“Talking to the Yokosuka [spokesman] On Monday, he mentioned that they actually went to great lengths to ‘hide’ John S. McCain due to sensitivities related to the relationship between POTUS and Senator McCain,” the Forces Public Affairs Director wrote. Americans in Japan in an e-mail.
In response, the Navy replaced a banner showing the ship’s name and replaced it with a tarp that “partially obscures[d] the ship’s name” painted on the back of the McCain, according to the email.
Rear Admiral Phillip Sawyer, who oversaw all Navy operations in the Western Pacific, tested for himself whether McCain’s name could be seen from where Trump intended to go, noting in a May 24 email that he was “comfortable with the actions that have been taken.” ” to block the vessel name.
Sawyer also recommended that “no further action” be taken “including[ing] ‘undo all that’s been done’ with banner and paint tarp.
Not only could McCain’s name not be visible to Trump, his sailors were barred from attending the president’s address to sailors on the base, according to a May 17, 2019 Navy email.
“My direction was to have a good plan to meet [White House] intend to have [the McCain] out of sight without drawing attention to the fact that [McCain] sailors were not allowed to participate,” wrote an anonymous naval officer.
The Navy requested a formal order from the Trump administration to do so, but none came, according to a May 24, 2019 email. Without the order, the Navy was clear to remove the concealment measures and l It was three days before the former president’s visit, according to reports at the time.
After the news broke, Trump denied making the request himself, but admitted that “someone” on his team made it because “they thought they were doing me a favor because they knew I’m not a John McCain fan.”
“I would never do such a thing,” Trump said at the time. “Now someone did it because they thought I didn’t like it. OK? And they meant well.
New York Post