Trump Staff Demanded Removal Of Warship Bearing John McCain’s Name Before Japan Visit

The White House reportedly told the Defense Department that it needed to send away the the USS John McCain so that it was not around when President Donald Trump visited Japan. Named after Trump’s Republican critic, the ship had to be “out of sight” by the time Trump arrived for a visit to the Yokosuka base. Trump has denied knowing about the order, but did not say that he would find out who issued the order and fire them. The idea of White House staff dictating the movement of warships is extremely serious and the Navy should have refused. These warships have missions and are not props. Moreover, the people serving on these ships are not some collective pariah due to petty politics.

The McCain is an Arliegh Burke-class destroyer and part of the Destroyer Squadron 15 of the Seventh Fleet anchored at Yokosuka Naval Base.

I have actually long opposed the naming of ships (or other public properties) for politicians. I would love to see a ban on such practices. It is a way for agencies to curry favor and budget increases by appealing to the inexhaustible ego of politicians.

That however is not the issue here. According to the Wall Street Journal, in a May 15th email, an official at the US Indo-Pacific Command contacts US Navy and Air Force officials to note that the USS John McCain “needs to be out of sight” during Trump’s Memorial Day visit to Yokosuka base. The email sought confirmation that the demand “will be satisfied.”

One official said that he would seek more information from the White House so it appears that there were multiple communications made on this subject. It should not be hard to determine who gave his directive to the Navy.

The Journal published a photograph showing that McCain’s name was covered by a tarpaulin before Trump’s arrival and that sailors were ordered to remove any items with the late Senator’s name. However, the Navy said that the covering was removed by the time Trump arrived. It is not clear if the tarp was part of the original order. One report indicates that the tarp was used to fulfill the order to cover up McCain’s name but the action was later reversed. Yet, a barge was moved closer to the ship and blocked the name.

The tarpaulin idea was so ham-handed that one has to wonder if someone in the Navy had a wicked passive aggressive streak. The tarp would have attracted every reporter to the ship and frankly I would respect such a “be-careful-what-you-ask-for” response from the Navy.

This is all an utter disgrace. The acting Secretary of Defense denies knowledge of the order and the White House will not respond to further questions. I do not consider this to be a trivial matter. Moving warships and ordering sailors to conceal identifying features for political purposes is unacceptable. It is not simply petty politics. It is an abuse of power. The acting Secretary is saying that they are “looking into the matter.

It was an allegation reminiscent of the “Fala” scandal where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was accused of sending a destroyer to retrieve his dog from the Aleutian Islands, an allegation that proved untrue and led to FDR’s famous Fala speech. This destroyer story however appears to be true and lacks a cute dog — just the protection of what staffers viewed as a raw and vulnerable ego.

Regardless of whether Trump ordered the move, the White House appears behind the disrespectful order. It not only made our service personnel into props but made our military look like fawning servants to the fragile ego of a leader. I have no reason to doubt Trump’s denial. This is not the type of thing that reached the Oval Office as an action item. However, that is not enough. Trump needs to pledge to find the responsible people and remove them from federal service.

167 thoughts on “Trump Staff Demanded Removal Of Warship Bearing John McCain’s Name Before Japan Visit”

  1. Trump needs to pledge to find the responsible people and remove them from federal service.

    That would be the crowning injustice. Whoever did this had excellent reasons not to have to deal with his boss while triggered. Whoever did this clearly didin’t think this through, or perhaps didn’t find the insult to the crew of McCain
    to be severe.

    If the request was such a disgrace, though, at least one admiral should have said “That ship was christened to honor two men who were not involved in dirty politics in 2016, and to honor the naval service of John McCain III, not anything he did on 2016. If you want to push this further, call SECNAV, SECDEF or POTUS and have one of them tell me to do it. I don’t work for you.”

    If that happened, it appears to be too late. But this failure has at least two fathers, perhaps a room full of them. No single person deserves to be drummed out of the federal civil service or the US Navy for taking part in a clusterhump.

  2. You all do realize that ship was named after Senator McCain’s grandfather and not Senator McCain, right”

      1. Correct….the ship was re-christened to add Sen. McCain’s name. I think this was about a month before he died.
        To avoid future controversies/ incidents involving the USS McCain, Trump will probably order it to be scuttled.😉

  3. So once again, Prof Turley believes an anti-Trump story from the liberal MSM based on anonymous sources. AND IS PROVEN WRONG AGAIN. Will that stop him in the future, and make him more cautious. Evidently not. Since the MSM has been doing this for 2.5 years to Trump. And no matter how much crap they make up or how they misrepresent, – Prof. Turley believes them 100%.

  4. L4D says–Turley’s blawg hounds are still bat guano insane. Every day. But today was a real doozie. My gods. Just look at it. It’s totally bonkers.

  5. Reportedly ,means unsubstantiated, unproven. That one word alone torpedoes the whole piece.

    Staff asking for or suggesting without the knowledge of their Principal is a common failing of the Washington DC crowd but the same is found in all levels of business, government etc

    Just those two alone means the article is not worth reading unless you are socialist grasping at straws and finding that the phrase does not mean the kind that suck.

  6. OT: New Mexico Democratic governor pulled troops from border ‘charade’ — now she’s demanding federal help over border crisis

    Political pandering is not practical, it appears

    Chris Enloe
    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has heavily criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda and the administration’s overall response to the border crisis.

    Ditch the fake news ==> Click here to get news you can trust sent right to your inbox. It’s free!
    In February, she condemned what she called Trump’s “charade of border fear-mongering” and announced she was withdrawing most of the New Mexico National Guard troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in her state.

    “I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border,” Lujan Grisham said, according to NPR.

    Her comments came just more than one week before Trump declared a national emergency in response to the overwhelming migrant crisis at the border.

    But now, more than three months after her public campaign of opposition against the Trump administration, Lujan Grisham is seeking the federal government’s assistance to manage the impacts of the border crisis on New Mexico.

    David McNew/Getty Images

    According to KOAT-TV, Lujan Grisham met with federal officials in Washington, D.C., last week, including acting-Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, to discuss the ongoing crisis.

    Lujan Grisham asked McAleenan to increase government personnel at the border and requested reimbursement for humanitarian assistance, among other resources.

    “The governor wants to continue to urge the federal government to increase its personnel on the border as a means of improving the logistical and communications output,” the governor’s spokesman, Tripp Stelnicki, told KOAT.

    How did Republicans react?

    Considering Lujan Grisham’s public outcry against the Trump administration, Republicans had a field day with her trip to Washington.

    “She declares there’s no crisis. She removes the National Guard, and now she’s there asking for money,” New Mexico GOP Chairman Steve Pearce mocked, KOAT reported.

    “Everything in her actions indicate that she believes there’s a crisis, but yet she will not dedicate the resources or request to her colleagues in Congress to start passing the laws that will change the situation there,” he criticized. “The border communities are going to continue to be overrun.”

    1. Alan, explain how this relates to Trump’s aversion to a ship in port.

      Or perhaps you’re doing an Estovir here and desperately changing the subject because Trump’s madness is all-too-apparent?

      1. First of all, the report is “Trump’s staff”, not Trump. Secondly, removal of troops and removal of warship. Lastly, Allan began with OT. So there’s that.

      2. Actually it is part of the Allan Project to see if it is possible to educate Peter. TDS pollutes the MSM and this blog. Trump is being blamed for something but there is no proof he had anything to do with what happened. There are alot of military people that dislike McCain and would want to cover his name up. Some likely have high rank and can do so but apparently that cover was removed so perhaps someone of higher rank called for its removal. Unfortunately TDS forces people to blame Trump without proof. That is what the media has done and perhaps Turley has done as well.

        The article posted is one likely not to appear in the Washington Post. It demonstrates how the Governor of New Mexico ranted about Trump’s actions and decisions to protect the border. She blamed Trump for creating something that didn’t exist, but it did so now after finding she was wrong she has to call for aid.

        That is the problem with you guys. You make assumptions that are wrong, you don’t care about facts and then someone else has to bail you out. Do you learn from your experiences? No and that is the purpose of the Allan Project.

        I hope Estovir continues to post as he has.

  7. You “have no reason to doubt Trump’s denial”? How is it possible that, after the past four years, you could believe anything he says?

    1. How is it possible that, after the past four years, you could believe anything he says?

      For that matter, why would you believe anything that you cannot independently verify?

  8. It would not surprise me that everything reported was true with the exception of who ordered it and why. I’ve been able to verify that DESRON 15 was embarked and did put their brow skirt on. A paint barge had been moved just
    off the fantail obscuring the ships name. As for ship’s company being given the day off with the exception of the duty section, that would not be a surprise. Those living aboard and not on duty would go ashore and off the base. Anyone that remained onboard would no doubt be put to work cleaning what didn’t need it to be cleaned. Painting what didn’t need painting. Covering up what couldn’t be moved, and so on. I’ve been on ships that were ordered to paint only the pierside of the ship simply because some 1 star might arrive at the naval station and might see the ship.

  9. This is absurd x 8:

    In 2008, according to Professor Catherine Lutz at Brown University, the U.S. military had 900 military bases in 46 countries. Also in 2008, according to the Pentagon’s own official inventory of U.S. military bases around the world, there were 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. At that time as well, the U.S. deployed over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories.

    In 2015, according to Base Nation (here’s a map: https://www.basenation.us/maps.html), the U.S. had 800 military bases outside the fifty states and Washington, D.C. According to the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for FY 2015, the U.S. operated 562,000 facilities located on 4,800 sites worldwide (587 of them abroad), on approximately 24.9 million acres.

    Should I continue (I’m afraid I have to)?

    U.S. DOD just noted, in a “cost of war” analysis accounting for such costs through 12/31/18, the DOD has obligated $1,534,800,000,000 for war-related costs, about the same amount that the Congressional Research Service said had been appropriated by Congress during the same period.

    As Chalmers Johnson noted in 2008: “These massive concentrations of American military power outside the United States are not needed for our defense. They are, if anything, a prime contributor to our numerous conflicts with other countries. They are also unimaginably expensive. According to Anita Dancs, an analyst for the website Foreign Policy in Focus, the United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence.”

    All of this is to say nothing of the indirect economic and institutional control that the U.S. has exerted around the world since WWII, which you can get an overview of in such books as “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, etc., or the quantity of funds in the trillions that even the Pentagon has

    You singled out the word “empire” and propounded a semantic, pedantic retort to my argument which did not address the essential point I made. If you don’t want to call the U.S. an empire in which the military organization exerts an overwhelming influence that is out of control at home and abroad, and that endangers us all, then well . . .

    If I don’t know anything, then you don’t know anything worth knowing.

    1. Did it occur to you to enumerate the actual number of billets at these ‘bases’? No, because you don’t do that and neither do innumerates like Chalmers Johnson.

      My favorite example of this sort of silliness came from Andrew Bacevich, who writes a piece in 2010 wailing that we have such a thing as a ‘Southern Command’ and wouldn’t our relationship with Latin American be so much more ‘mature’ if we had no Southern Command. At the time, the Southern Command had 2,000 billets (1/10th the number there had been in 1950). About 46% of them were at Guantanamo Bay, an American possession since 1902. Great slogan for Bacevich, “U.S. Out of America”. The most salient activity of the Southern Command at that time was…drug interdiction.

      Total number of billets in Tropical Africa at that time was 5,000. There wasn’t a single European country other than Germany where the number of billets exceeded 12,000. There still isn’t.

      All of this is to say nothing of the indirect economic and institutional control that the U.S. has exerted around the world since WWII

      Try showing your work, four-flusher.

      1. i cant find the piece. there is tons of stuff on the internet from bacevich in 2010

        do you have a publication or a link?

        1. Of course not. you are asking for a credible source or a fact. When did the socialists ever provide anything factual?

      2. By citing the existence of the Southern Command, you’re feeding my argument. You’re trying to billet your way out of a larger picture and all you’re doing is proving you’re a pedant who mistakes the forest for the very smallest trees. On the economic front, I explicitly referred to a book, which I suspect you haven’t read, that gives an extensive, first-hand account of how the U.S. strong-arms countries through the coercive deployment and withholding of money, manipulating UN votes, increasing the pressure on third-world countries to pursue policies that favor U.S. extractive industries and corporations, cutting off aid to non-compliant governments, especially any government that moves one iota in the direction of a fairer distribution of wealth, e.g. Ecuador, Panama before Noriega, and bringing in the assassins and then the military when the assassins fail. You’ll excuse me if I’m at work and don’t have time to rewrite it.

        1. you’re a pedant who mistakes the forest for the very smallest trees. On the economic front

          No, I can count and you don’t care to. Neither does Chalmers Johnson, which is why he was railing at ‘quantitative economists’ a generation back.

          you haven’t read, that gives an extensive, first-hand account of how the U.S. strong-arms countries through the coercive deployment and withholding of money, manipulating UN votes, increasing the pressure on third-world countries to pursue policies that favor U.S. extractive industries and corporations, cutting off aid to non-compliant governments, especially any government that moves one iota in the direction of a fairer distribution of wealth, e.g. Ecuador, Panama before Noriega, and bringing in the assassins and then the military when the assassins fail. You’ll excuse me if I’m at work and don’t have time to rewrite it.

          Do you honestly fancy there is much original in these theses? What they are is extensive briefs – and in your case you’ve mentioned two faculty members who are innocent of any skills in quantitative social research – that the problems of various places around the world are the result of scheming by Uncle Boogeyman. Lutz is an example of the patronage mill that exists in academe for red-haze polemicists. It’s an adolescent worldview no matter how much you tart it up with footnotes.

          Latin America is lagging economically not because of Uncle Boogeyman, but because of what they’ve done and not done to develop their human capital and deploy their physical resources. It’s not a consequence of Uncle Boogeyman playing games with their extractive industries. Extractive industries are a two-digit share of the merchandise export trade of seven Latin American countries. Contemporary conditions and recent history in these countries are all over the map.

          Trying to stick the bill with the CIA’s clandestine services division is inane. Latin American countries had troublesome political orders before we had any clandestine services capacity at all and have had in the last 30 years far less trouble than they ever had before that (even though the CIA still exists).

          As for ‘cutting off noncompliant governments’, Latin American countries are 2d tier economies, by and large. Official development assistance is contextually important in Africa. It’s inconsequential in Latin America. And, no, Latin American publics do not benefit from the ministrations of the sort of politicians Wm. Ascher referred to (charitably) as ‘economic romantics’. You’re looking at a disaster in Venezuela right now because that’s what happens when such people get their hands on the til and the tiller.

          Quit reading back issues of The Nation and dreck from the Institute for Policy Studies, and maybe you will learn something.

            1. You didn’t give me any numbers. Chalmers Johnson isn’t the only one bad at math.

        2. The absurdity referenced elsewhere is No such book is referenced Just another reportedly, purportedly alleged POS meaning Piece of Socialism. what you thought it mean something else…….???? hmmmm well to be honest… it does.

        3. if i was crazy i might agree with the leftists on a few things about American policy in latin america specifically central america, Mexico and honduras and so forth, not including Costa Rica which is a peculiar exception for unrelated reasons…..

          a) we like to destabilize the place so it gets worse, because if it gets worse then it’s weaker to resist

          b) weaker to resist stuff like NAFTA which benefits certain powerful and clever exporting sectors of our economy (agriculture) even at expense of the american durable consumer goods manufacturing sector, which had already given up and was offshoring to Asia by then anyways

          b) weaker to play any games with rivals like Russia which US does not like

          c) weaker to govern itself properly and ameliorate perpetually bad conditions, which would slow the flow of surplus population up north to populate the “reserve army of the unemployed” which helps keep down wages, at the expense of native born workers

          I realize C is something that leftists dont’ generally say but I think they will get my drift. bernie has made the observation along those lines in the past but it didn’t make him very many friends among the Democrats who harvest their kids’ votes. I think by now he gets that and will STFU about the interests of native born workers and leave that to TRUMP instead.

          and of course I am crazy so yeah I do kind of think that stuff.

          all that being said, so many central american countries are so perpetually incompetent at so many things, it might not matter if we pursued a more enlightened policy or not.

          mexico for example screwed its own situation with NAFTA. they could have just said no. but instead a lot of people got rich even if most of them got poorer and the poorest flushed out of the bottom up north here. (maybe not poorer but at least put into a more economically unstable and predictable picture which caused people to drain out of the pueblos into the city and thence up north…) Where they became Democrats. gee, that Bill Clinton seems smarter and smarter all the time, I kind of wondered why he signed it.

          1. a) we like to destabilize the place so it gets worse, because if it gets worse then it’s weaker to resist

            1. Which place is ‘unstable’?

            2. Which place is ‘unstable’ consequent to the efforts of the U.S. Government?

            3. What do you fancy they’re resisting that clandestine services finds so intolerable?

            Extra Credit:

            Define ‘unstable’.

            1. i have this crazy thesis that socialism worked better for mexico than democracy and capitalism. my evidence is them coming up here as illegal immigrants in huge numbers.

              when they were socialists, they stayed there more so since the days of nafta and the weakening of the PRI, which has lead to social chaos and worsening of crime.

              i am ok if they want to be socialists. i could really care less. I don’t want venezuela to blow up with a bunch of trade liberalization and democracy and suddenly have a million venezuelans find their way here.

              I like the few venezuelans i have met quite a bit. but they can mostly stay home would be my prefernce. i feel the same way about cubans too. i adore their music and food but overall, they are welcome to remain in the worker’s paradise.

              1. have this crazy thesis that socialism worked better for mexico than democracy and capitalism.

                Well, abandon it. It’s not true. Immigration is driven by the presence of social networks in the receiving country. It’s inhibited if two culturally distinct places have income levels roughly similar, but before and after there’s always been enough of a disjunction to entice people to travel from Mexico. It’s just that the relative position of Mexico has been fitfully improving in the last 8 decades, and especially the last 2.

          2. While we’re at it, why not list the places in Latin America which are ‘worse’ than they were in 1974? Be sure to define worse.

            1. Mexico is worse. 4 things

              drug demand/ war on drugs;
              homicide & kidnapping;
              “democracy”
              trade liberalization effects.

              these are not clandestine service issues in my mind.

              1- The US war on drugs in Columbia seemed like it was a success but maybe it just moved to mexico.

              Mexico drug trafficking problems have gotten worse over decades. First reason why is of course because of bad Mexicans trafficking and murdering and kidnapping which is primary their own wrong not the US fault.

              However drug demand from US has gotten higher over decades and law enforcement strategies of the drug war like militarization and playing footsie with one gang against another failed too.

              recent legalization seems to be helping reduce the problems
              http://time.com/3801889/us-legalization-marijuana-trade/

              2. Worse like homicide and kidnapping. except when i looked it up, can’t find their rates for the 70s.

              3. I don’t worry about the Dirty war, that was a PRI policy against rebels, and I think the PRI was under-rated.

              But after that was done, in the 90s, if I recall, US encouraged “democracy” in Mexico and undermined the PRI which lost its mandate in elections. Formerly the PRI had a strong hand and was perhaps corrupt and brutal but not as bad as when it got weak due to “democracy” and then who got stronger? Drug cartels, mostly. So much for democracy.

              4. I also think trade liberalization has “helped” many Mexicans for sure but not the poor. Who ran on up here. They were worse off since NAFTA wrecked the old system of agriculture in mexico and then they fled to cities and thence up here. Whomever is stuck down there is perhaps not suffering as badly as they were in the first decade since nafta but maybe just because the worst off ran up here. Which stinks for us.

              https://newfoodeconomy.org/border-crisis-immigration-mexican-corn-nafta/

    2. i think there is a lot to the notion that it is empire, but the essay i linked before made some good points that it acts as hegemon and not empire.

      there is actually a lot to read out there on that conversation, and it’s worthwhile conversation

      here’s another older example

      https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/empire-and-hegemony/

      it seems to me you have to master this conversation before you can make a lot of sense out of the more recent talk about “unipolar versus multipolar world”

      I find it tiresome that Leftists get overheated and frothy and judgmental about this all the time. I have read a lot of that and do find a lot of value in what Leftists have to say about the topic, even Chomsky, or economic approaches like Yanis Varoufakis. But it’s tiresome that people coming from a set of norms which incorporate cultural relativism, and materialistic premises, would get so preachy.

      I mean if you are a Marxist than you believe that history has a certain set of material forces in play, and things are going to tend to work out in certain ways, no matter too much what people choose. Indeed they seem to negate as do scientists, the notion of free will as such. If so then what’s the point of being preachy and moralistic?

      I think that the “alt right” and other “Fringe” political thinkers like Aleksandr Dugin are commendable because they look into Marxist viewpoints for some inspiration on contemporary events without getting tied and tangled up in the leftist moralisms of the past.

      1. If you want to ‘master the conversation’, why waste your time on The American Conservative?

        The point of terminology is to communicate. If you want the games people play while trying to make a point, read polemics. If you want to see careerism, read academics trying to make a name for themselves trading in counter-intuitive theses and status jonesing.

        1. you really hate that publication. i’m ok to read it sometimes. i waste a lot of time on such things. if you have a better syllabus that throw it up here.

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