‘They Know I’m Not a Fan’: Trump Says Aides Were Trying to Do Him a ‘Favor’ by Covering McCain Ship

Donald Trump
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Donald Trump claimed Thursday he wasn’t involved in the effort to cover up the USS John S. McCain on his visit to Japan last week but doubled down that he never liked the late Republican senator.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House wanted the Navy to have the ship “out of sight” for the president’s trip.

According to the report, before the president’s arrival, a tarp covered the name of the ship, and sailors were asked to remove any coverings that bore the name “McCain.” The Navy also moved a barge in front of the ship’s name.

By the time Trump arrived in Japan, however, the tarp was taken down and the barge was removed. Still, sailors that worked on the ship were told to take the day of the president’s arrival off.

“I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t involved. I would not have done that,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Thursday morning, adding that the late senator “killed” his health care plan and pushed former President George W. Bush to get involved in the Middle East.

“John McCain — I wasn’t a fan. But I would never do a thing like that,” he said. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say.”

Watch the video below:

When pressed by reporters to apologize to the sailors on the USS McCain who were not invited to his event aboard the USS Wasp, Trump refused.

“I can’t because I didn’t know anything about it,” he argued.

Trump continued (emphasis added):

“I don’t know who did it. We’ll probably be able to find out who did it. They thought they were doing me a favor because they know I’m not a fan of John McCain. John McCain killed health care for the Republican Party, and he killed health care for the nation.”

The president then again went after the late senator for his stance on entering the Middle East as well as health care for veterans.

“I wasn’t a fan of John McCain, and I never will be,” Trump added. “But certainly, I couldn’t care less whether or not there’s a boat named after his father.”

Watch the video below:

The president first expressed his denial of his involvement in the actions in a Wednesday night tweet.

“I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan,” he wrote. “Nevertheless, [first lady Melania Trump] and I loved being with our great Military Men and Women – what a spectacular job they do!”

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