The U.S. Navy has confirmed that a request was made to "minimize the visibility" of the USS John S. McCain during President Trump's visit to Japan, where it is stationed.
The president visited Japan this week for four days, and the military bases in the area were on high alert. Among their preparations and protocols was a request to keep the ship named after late U.S. Sen. John McCain out of the president's sight, according to a report by CBS News.
"USS John McCain needs to be out of sight," read an internal email obtained by the outlet. Other news organizations have since verified the request, and U.S. Navy officials have since confirmed that the request was real.
"Admin officials confirm WSJ story," tweeted Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. "Request was made to make sure McCain ship wasn't visible. Aides say Trump wasn't involved in request — but it was made to prevent any potential ire from POTUS."
President Trump had a longstanding public feud with McCain, who was one of the most outspoken voices against his policies within the Republican Party. McCain passed away last summer with the enmity between him and the president still unresolved, and President Trump was not invited to his funeral service.
The president himself responded to the news on Twitter, saying that it was "exaggerated" and "Fake News."
"The Navy put out a disclaimer on the McCain story. Looks like the story was an exaggeration, or even Fake News - but why not, everything else is!" he wrote.
"I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan," he went on. "Nevertheless, [the First Lady] and I loved being with our great Military Men and Women - what a spectacular job they do!"0comments
"I would not have done that. I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way shape or form. To me John McCain, I wasn't a fan. But I would never do a thing like that. Now, someone did it because they thought I didn't like him. They were well-meaning, I will say. But I wouldn't have," Trump said.