Navy says it was asked to 'minimize visibility' of USS McCain for Trump visit

The Navy has acknowledged receiving a request to "minimize visibility" of the USS John S. McCain during President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump anti-reg push likely to end up in court Biden set to make risky economic argument against Trump Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE's visit to Japan earlier this week but said the ship remained in its normal configuration.

"A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President's visit," Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, chief of Navy information, told CNN in a statement late Friday. "There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain."

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The spokesman said that the Navy is "fully cooperating with the review of this matter." 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 said earlier this week that he had directed his chief of staff to look into the incident because he never authorized any "action around the movement of activity regarding that ship." 

Shanahan maintained Friday that the U.S. military would not "become politicized" amid questions over a White House order to keep the USS John S. McCain "out of sight" during Trump's visit to Japan.
 
The ship is currently under repair, with one Navy official telling CNN that the White House request was impractical.
 
"Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized," Shanahan told reporters during a news conference in Singapore on Friday when asked if he shared Trump's assessment that whoever gave the order was "well-meaning."
 
"I'll wait until I get a full explanation of the facts before I’ll pass judgment on the situation, but our job is to run the military. And I would not have moved the ship. I would not have given that direction," he added.
 
Trump said Thursday that he "didn't know anything" about the request to hide the guided missile destroyer during his visit to the Yokosuka Naval Base on Memorial Day. However, he went on to chastise the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhat does Joe Biden believe about NASA, space exploration and commercial space? The Memo: Activists press Biden on VP choice Biden takes page from Trump with public auditions for VP slot MORE (R-Ariz.) over his vote that helped torpedo GOP efforts to repeal ObamaCare in 2017, saying he "was not a big fan of John McCain."
 
"But I would never do a thing like that," he added. "Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning, I will say."