Buttigieg slams reported Trump request to move USS McCain: 'Our military is not a prop'

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (D) slammed a reported Trump administration request for military officials to hide the USS John S. McCain during the president's visit to Japan. 

Buttigieg, who served in the Navy, said Thursday that the military isn't a "prop" to be "toyed with for the benefit of a fragile president's ego."

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that White House officials requested the ship — which was originally named after McCain's grandfather and father, with the senator joining the namesakes in 2018 — be "out of sight" during President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE's Memorial Day visit.

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Trump told reporters on Thursday that he didn't know about the decision, but said that whoever made the order was "well meaning" given his past feuds with the late GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Meghan McCain shares story of miscarriage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE. Trump has continued to attack McCain nearly a year after the senator's death and said Thursday that he "was not a big fan of John McCain in any way, shape or form."

The Washington Post and New York Times both confirmed the Wall Street Journal's report, which said that military officials approved measures so the ship would be hidden during Trump's state visit.

Buttigieg has in the past come to McCain's defense after a Trump attack, pointing to accusations that Trump faked a bone spurs diagnoses to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.

"When a president (who faked a disability in order to avoid serving) attacks a departed war hero, it’s for attention," Buttigieg tweeted in March. "We should honor the late Senator McCain, and also follow his example by focusing not on the behavior of the president but on the future of our country."