On Thursday, “The View” co-host Meghan McCain excoriated President Donald Trump over a widely disputed report from The Wall Street Journal claiming the White House directed officials to have the USS John McCain “out of sight” during the president’s recent trip to Japan.
The ship was named after the late-Arizona Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather; the senator’s name was added to the ship last year, according to the WSJ.
“Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dad's incredible life,” wrote McCain, daughter of the late senator. “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."
McCain’s comment was in direct response to a report from the Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus. “NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain ‘out of sight’ for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit,” wrote Ballhaus in the tweet commented on by McCain.
“In a May 15 email to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official outlined plans for the president’s arrival that he said had resulted from conversations between the White House Military Office and the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy. In addition to instructions for the proper landing areas for helicopters and preparation for the USS Wasp—where the president was scheduled to speak—the official issued a third directive: ‘USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,’” the report alleged. “‘Please confirm #3 will be satisfied,’ the official wrote.”
However, as highlighted by The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, Ballhaus’ reporting was quickly disputed.
“The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage,” the Navy Chief of Information tweeted hours after the report was published.
MSNBC’s Katy Tur also pushed back, posting in a tweet: "A spokesperson for US Pacific Fleet said the picture of the tarp is from Friday and it was taken down on Saturday. 'All ships remained in normal configuration during POTUS' visit,' CDR Nate Christensen said."
In a follow-up WSJ piece published on Thursday, Ballhaus acknowledged President Trump’s denial of the report:
Speaking to reporters Thursday as he left Washington for Colorado, Mr. Trump said of the White House request, which was issued earlier this month: “I didn’t know a thing about it. I would never have done that.”
The president repeated his previous criticisms of the late senator and didn’t apologize for the White House directive, saying instead that the official who directed the warship to be concealed “did it because they thought I didn’t like him.”
Trump suggested that a tarp-covering of the McCain name might have been done by sailors on their own because of his known dislike for the late senator. “They thought they were doing me a favor because they know I am not a fan of John McCain,” he told reporters, according to the WSJ. “I was very angry with John McCain because he killed health care. I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way shape or form.”