WH chief of staff dismisses uproar over USS John McCain

WASHINGTON — Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defended the administration's advance team for asking the Navy to obscure the USS John McCain during the president's recent state visit to Japan, arguing the request was not "unreasonable."

Appearing on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Mulvaney said that "it was probably someone on the advance team" in the White House who was responsible, adding that the unidentified staffer who requested to hide the ship, named for the grandfather of the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, would not be fired.

"The fact that some 23, 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, 'oh my goodness, here's the John McCain, we all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that's not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it?' That's not an unreasonable thing," Mulvaney said.

RELATED: USS John McCain collides with oil tanker

11 PHOTOS
USS John McCain collides with oil tanker
See Gallery
USS John McCain collides with oil tanker
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain arrives at Changi Naval Base in Singapore August 21, 2017 in this handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Personnel work on the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Personnel work on the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
U.S. Navy personnel are seen onboard guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters in this still frame taken from video August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
Damage is seen on the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision, in Singapore waters in this still frame taken from video August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Reuters TV
Tanker Alnic MC is seen in Singapore waters after a collision with U.S. Navy USS John S. McCain, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Christoph Van Der Perre
Personnel work onboard a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"The president's feeling towards the former senator are well known. They are well known throughout the office, they are well known in the media, but to think you're gonna get fired over this is silly."

The episode was sparked by a Wall Street Journal report detailing an effort to keep the ship out of sight during Trump's visit to Japan because of his frosty relationship with the late senator.

Trump initially drew the ire of Republicans by chiding McCain's past as a prisoner of war during the 2016 presidential campaign and has blasted the late senator, including in the months since his death, for his decision to vote against the GOP's health care bill in 2017. Before his death, McCain was one of the few Republican lawmakers who criticized Trump in public.

Rear Admiral Charlie Brown, a Navy spokesman, confirmed in a statement that "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."

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan asked his staff to "look into the matter" on Friday.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.