Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan insisted early Thursday that he didn’t authorize and didn’t know about a White House request to keep the USS John S. McCain “out of sight” when Donald Trump visited Japan earlier this week. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday evening that the White House told Navy officials that McCain’s ship must be kept hidden to avoid upsetting Trump during his visit. The ship’s signage was reportedly covered with a tarpaulin. Shanahan told reporters he’s instructed his chief of staff to investigate the allegations and said: “What I read this morning was the first I heard about it.” He added: “I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Senator McCain... I’d never disrespect the young men and women who crew that ship.” Trump has also distanced himself from the directive, writing: “I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.” Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, was formally nominated to be defense secretary by Trump this month.
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