Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said Monday a request by the White House to hide the navy ship USS John McCain during U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Japan was "not carried out."
"The White House military office gave a directive that the USS John McCain, it should be hidden from view," Shanahan told reporters while he was in South Korea giving his first speech abroad, a point he has emphasized numerous times in recent days. "The directive was not carried out.
"There's no room for politicizing the military," he said.
During Trump's recent visit to Japan, the White House put in a request to keep the USS John McCain "out of sight," according to the Wall Street Journal newspaper. Trump did not confirm his involvement in this decision, but said that the request was "well meaning."
McCain served as a military officer in the navy and went on to serve as an Arizona senator until his death from brain cancer last August. During his life, he was involved in a number disputes with Trump.
The navy warship was first commissioned in 1994 and had been named for the McCain’s father and grandfather, who were navy admirals named John Sidney McCain. Last year, the navy had made the ship honor the senator as well.
Shanahan noted the order was not carried out, and there was no effort made to try and hide the ship from view during Trump's visit. He also said neither he nor his senior staff were aware of the request, but if he had received it he would have rejected it.
He said he would not be seeking an internal investigation into the incident because there was "nothing really carried out.
Shanahan also spoke with Cindy McCain, wife of the late senator, however, did not reveal what he said during the conversation.
By Umar Farooq in Washington