According to the report, before President Trump’s trip to Japan this week, the White House told the U.S. Navy that the warship USS John S. McCain should be “out of sight” for the president’s visit.
What an extremely normal and not at all insane request!!!
The Journal reports that a May 15th email from a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official to the U.S. Navy and Air Force describing plans for Trump’s trip included the directive, “[the] USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” The apparently communication resulted from conversations between the White House Military Office and the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy.
“Please confirm [this directive] will be satisfied,” the official allegedly wrote.
Further emails expressed consternation over the order, the Journal writes:
When a Navy commander expressed surprise about the directive for the USS John S. McCain, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official replied: “First I heard of it as well.” He said he would work with the White House Military Office to obtain more information about the order.
So, did it happen??? Did we really move an enormous ship that cost billions of dollars just because the name of a dead guy painted on its side made the president mad?!?!
Well, it seems at least some measures were approved by Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan in order to appease the president’s totally absurd request, a U.S. official told the Journal.
From the Journal:
There were discussions within the U.S. military over the past week about how to handle the warship, another U.S. official said. The ship is being repaired after a 2017 collision, and any ship undergoing such repair or maintenance would be difficult to move, officials said. 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.
So no, we did not move the ship. But we did literally everything else we could in order to protect the precious feelings of our commander in chief from being hurt by the NAME OF A DEAD GUY ON A BOAT.
This isn’t Trump’s first run in with the boat. In 2017, the USS John S. McCain hit a merchant vessel, killing 10 sailors. Trump, when asked about the collision, said, simply, “That’s too bad.” He later added on Twitter that he was sending thoughts and prayers to the sailors aboard the ship.
So, you see, we can think of the USS John S. McCain as Trump’s “Moby Dick.” That is, if Moby Dick was about Ahab experiencing some minor political pushback from a whale whose name he then saw written on a boat several years later. Chilling, really.