On Wednesday, May 29, The Wall Street Journal published a report which claimed that during President Donald Trump's trip to Japan over the previous weekend, the warship U.S.S. John McCain had taken pains to hide any mention of its name for fear of inciting the rage of the President (who had a longstanding feud with Senator John McCain before his death).
Many notable figures, including Meghan McCain, the late Senator's daughter, have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment in the President and his team.
NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the… https://t.co/MC7IpWGWFH— Rebecca Ballhaus (@Rebecca Ballhaus)1559173636.0
On Twitter, Meghan McCain wrote:
"Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. 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."
Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. There is a lot o… https://t.co/4sQCEDmuH8— Meghan McCain (@Meghan McCain)1559175936.0
According to the WSJ piece, extensive pains were taken to ensure Trump didn't even have to catch a glimpse of John McCain's name.
@WSJ (cont) "A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the president’s trip, according to photos reviewed by th… https://t.co/219MXJuQVZ— Jesse Ferguson (@Jesse Ferguson)1559175875.0
(cont) "After the tarp was taken down, a barge was moved closer to the ship, obscuring its name. Sailors on the shi… https://t.co/vOX4xpsmum— Jesse Ferguson (@Jesse Ferguson)1559175898.0
Two sources confirm to @CNBC that this is the email showing coordinated efforts to put the USS John McCain “out of… https://t.co/cEI3hwoPe2— Amanda Macias (@Amanda Macias)1559187301.0
Trump himself responded to the reports not by denouncing or denying what had happened, but by simply saying he was unaware of them.
7:44 p.m.: WSJ: "White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ During Trump Japan Visit' 8:59 p.m.: https://t.co/TwOcLJxDlX— j.d. durkin (@j.d. durkin)1559178688.0
President doesn’t deny WSJ story and doesn’t condemn what the story described took place aboard the USS John S. McC… https://t.co/gLPC4RnCsr— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘)1559178381.0
Many felt the President had a pretty severe misunderstanding of what made them uncomfortable.
"I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain." YES. That was the whole po… https://t.co/DpRnPKISHx— Kate Brannen (@Kate Brannen)1559178214.0
If Acting Secretary Shanahan approved this, the Armed Services Committee -- which Senator McCain led for many years… https://t.co/q7fTb4mCmk— Tom Malinowski (@Tom Malinowski)1559177621.0
I can easily believe that officials wanted “USS JOHN MCCAIN” out of view b/c they didn’t want to either provoke the… https://t.co/4Y7T581hc6— Seth Mandel (@Seth Mandel)1559178850.0
Other Twitter users pointed out the ship wasn't even originally named after Senator McCain, but his grandfather and father.
IT’S NOT EVEN NAMED AFTER THAT JOHN MCCAIN— Adam Weinstein (@Adam Weinstein)1559177312.0
FACT: USS John McCain was originally named for John McCain Sr. and John McCain Jr. who were both Navy Admirals. I… https://t.co/bR69QPwkwX— Jesse Ferguson (@Jesse Ferguson)1559178056.0
FACT: Donald Trump's father (Fred) was arrested at a KKK rally in 1920s & was investigated by Pres. Eisenhower as a… https://t.co/LRDxer72v3— Jesse Ferguson (@Jesse Ferguson)1559178291.0
Under President Trump, the McCains, generally regarded as heroes of our military, were honored by having their names hidden from view.
Admiral John S. McCain Sr. commanded the Fast Carrier Task Force in WWII. Admiral John S. McCain Jr. served as CINC… https://t.co/QP2z3qAcof— Yoni Appelbaum (@Yoni Appelbaum)1559174937.0
And a few weeks before Sen. McCain died, the Secretary of the Navy rededicated the ship to add the senator’s name t… https://t.co/E78GzFd7uR— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper)1559180388.0
Trump's comments about John McCain not being a hero because "he got caught" were sickening. If this story is true… https://t.co/RH6rxdLIAB— Cabot Phillips (@Cabot Phillips)1559177192.0
The Navy, in the meantime, has pushed back against the Wall Street Journal's claims, saying its leadership was unaware of these actions.
The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is pro… https://t.co/RPB8BAcukS— Navy Chief of Information (@Navy Chief of Information)1559182177.0
Whether or not Trump was aware of the actions of those around him ultimately doesn't matter.
If our President inspires a culture of fear and hatred even towards our country's heroes of war then something needs to change.