Pentagon tells White House that military 'will not be politicized' after USS McCain incident

The Pentagon has reportedly communicated to the White House that it will not allow the U.S. military to be politicized, a move that comes amid a controversy involving a directive to keep the USS John S. McCain out of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE's sight during his visit to Japan. 

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE "directed his chief of staff to speak with the White House military office and reaffirm his mandate that the Department of Defense will not be politicized," Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement, according to Reuters. "The chief of staff reported that he did reinforce this message."

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that the White House asked the U.S. Navy to make sure the USS John S. McCain would be "out of sight" while he visited troops stationed in Japan. 

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“USS John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden MORE needs to be out of sight,” an email outlining the president's plans for the trip read, the Journal reported. “Please confirm #3 will be satisfied."

The order was not implemented after senior Navy officials became aware of the request, Reuters noted.

Trump, who said last week that he was unaware of the request, frequently clashed with the late Sen. John McCain and has kept up his attacks following the Arizona Republican's death.

Shanahan reportedly called on his chief of staff to find out what happened in regard to the request following The Wall Street Journal report. 

Shanahan told reporters Sunday that he had no plans of demanding an inspector general investigation, Reuters noted.

“There is no room for politicizing the military,” Shanahan said, according to the news service.

Shanahan added that his chief of staff was unaware of the White House request and that a review had not discovered any emails to his team related to the issue. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.