The Slatest

The Navy Reportedly Tried Hiding USS John McCain Warship With a Tarp During Trump’s Visit

President Trump arrives on the USS Wasp at the Yokosuka Naval Base May 28, 2019, in Yokosuka, Japan.
Just a 100 percent normal president doing normal president things. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

As if you needed a reminder, here’s where we are: Donald Trump is the president and when he, as president, visited a Navy ship on a recent trip to Japan, the White House instructed the Navy to hide a warship bearing the name of late senator and war hero John McCain during Trump’s visit, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a May 15 email to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official issued the directive: “‘USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.’ ‘Please confirm #3 will be satisfied,’ the official wrote.” The request to hide visual evidence of John McCain’s legacy ultimately made its way to the highest reaches of U.S. government; acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan reportedly signed off on the order.

The problem with carrying out that order, however, was that the USS John McCain—a.k.a. Trump’s maritime nemesis—was being repaired after it was damaged in a collision, making it extremely hard to move, so “a tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the president’s trip … and sailors were directed to remove any coverings from the ship that bore its name,” the Journal reports. “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.”

A tarp. Hiding a warship. That’s a real thing that happened.

Just a 100-percent normal president doing normal president things.