August 16, 2022

The US Navy just went to absurd lengths keep McCain’s ghost from ruining Trump Japan trip

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President Trump’s resentment for the late Senator John McCain is apparently so severe that White House staffers took steps to conceal the sight of the former Senator’s name emblazoned across a Navy ship during his recent trip to Japan.


In a stunning show of pampering for our hypersensitive and perpetually cranky Commander-in-Chief, sailors were sent home and a tarp was used to hide the words “U.S.S. JOHN MCCAIN” so that the president’s dainty eyes might not be forced to read the name of his longtime political enemy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that on May 15th,  a U.S. Indo-Pacific command official received the following orders from the White House in preparation for the President’s trip to Japan:

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.”

“Please confirm #3 will be satisfied,” the official wrote.

The following steps were taken to satisfy the President:

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 A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the president’s trip, according to photos reviewed by the Journal, and sailors were directed to remove any coverings from the ship that bore its name. After the tarp was taken down, a barge was moved closer to the ship, obscuring its name. Sailors on the ship, who typically wear caps bearing its name, were given the day off during Mr. Trump’s visit, people familiar with the matter said.

McCain, a former presidential candidate, had little love for the current occupant of the Oval Office and sparred with him on numerous occasions, perhaps most famously when he voted against the regressive, nihilistic “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, torpedoing a cornerstone of Trump’s legislative agenda.

Since then, the two clashed multiple times throughout his presidency, with the Arizona Republican taking a hawkish stance against the President’s cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and providing the crucial “no” vote to stop his party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a decision which Trump still complains about at every given opportunity.

Pettiness has been a constant throughout Trump’s relationship with McCain; even after he died, Trump went out of his way to make it clear that he was not sorry to see his vocal critic lose his battle with brain cancer by returning the flags to full mast after less than two days and stopping the White House from releasing a statement honoring his war service.

It is a damning indictment of the president, however, that his temperament is so volatile that the mere sight of John McCain’s name is triggering enough to require preventative measures.

Original reporting by Rebecca Ballhaus at the Wall Street Journal.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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