Acting White House Chief of Staff and Lead Gaslighter Mick Mulvaney had his talking points with him about the USS John S. McCain as he made the rounds of Sunday news talk shows.
Mulvaney repeated the same responses when asked by NBC’s
Chuck Todd and Fox News’ Chris Wallace if someone at the White House was
involved in asking the Navy to move the warship during Donald Trump’s visit to
Japan over Memorial Day weekend, and whether they should be fired.
It was a 23- or
24-year-old who made the request. It was much ado about nothing. Nothing
happened. Hundreds of people are involved. You’ve wasted two minutes of my time
on a Sunday.
The Wall Street
Journal first reported earlier this week that the White
House wanted the Navy to move the USS John S. McCain, which was named after
the late Sen. John McCain’s grandfather and father, “out of sight” during Trump’s
The report said that sailors on the ship were given the day
off during Trump’s visit, a large tarp was hung over the ship’s name, and a
barge was moved to block the ship’s visibility after the tarp was removed.
That prompted White House and Pentagon officials to blame
lower-level staff, and Trump to deny knowledge of the request while
simultaneously criticizing the late McCain, and saying that whoever did it was “well-meaning.”
Later, Trump declared the story “Fake
But on Saturday, Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, the Navy’s chief
of information, confirmed the request was made, forcing Mulvaney to admit the
same thing the next day.
“A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility
of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration
during the President’s visit,” Brown said in a statement.
“There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned
to USS John S. McCain.”
On Meet the Press,
Mulvaney said he “absolutely” believes someone on the president’s advance team
made the request. Then he threw an unnamed staffer under the bus, using that
person’s youth as a weapon.
“The fact that some 23- or 24-year-old person on the advance
team went to that site and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s the John McCain, we
all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that’s not the
best backdrop. Can somebody look into moving it?’ That’s not an unreasonable thing
to ask,” Mulvaney said.
He added: “To think that you’re going to get fired over this
is silly. If you’re going to a staff meeting, so look, Chuck is fighting with
so-and-so, let’s not sit them together today at the meeting. Is that a fireable
offense at NBC?”
Totally the same thing: a U.S. warship
in Japan, Memorial Day, a deceased war hero senator at odds with a
draft-dodging president, unfriendly colleagues at a news network staff
“This has now gotten two minutes of time on Sunday
afternoon, and it’s just outrageous,” Mulvaney said.
On Fox News Sunday,
Mulvaney reiterated that Trump didn’t know about the request, and that “literally
hundreds of people are involved in moving the president overseas.”
When Wallace asked if anyone would be disciplined in the
White House over the incident, Mulvaney put on his tough face and replied, “No.
Does someone get disciplined at Fox News for saying that so-and-so doesn’t want
to sit next to so-and-so at a meeting? No.”
Mulvaney added: “If a 23- or 24-year-old person says, ‘Look, is it really a
good idea for this ship to be in the background,’ that is not an unreasonable
question to have, and it’s certainly not something that takes up two minutes of
national television on Sunday.”
Hmmm, that sounds vaguely