“A request was made to the US Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit," reads a statement from Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, Chief of Navy Information, which the Pentagon released Saturday.
There were “no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain,” the statement adds, Presstv Reported.
The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal which said the White House had requested the Navy to move the warship out of Trump’s view prior to his visit.
“USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” the outlet said, citing a May 15 email from a US Indo-Pacific Command official to US Navy and Air Force officials.
According to the Journal, a tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the visit, and sailors were instructed to remove any coverings from the ship with its name on it.
Meanwhile, Trump and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan have both denied knowing anything about such orders.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trump said while he was not “a big fan” of McCain, “I would never do a thing like that.”
"Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say," he said.
A spokesman for Shanahan also issued a statement, saying, "Secretary Shanahan was not aware of the directive to move the USS John S McCain nor was he aware of the concern precipitating the directive.”
The ship was named after McCain's father and grandfather, who were both decorated admirals. The Navy added the name of Sen. McCain, who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to the ship in 2018.
Trump and McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, were frequently at odds before and during Trump's presidency. In 2015, Trump attacked McCain as "not a war hero" and again criticized the senator from Arizona after he died of brain cancer last August.
At a rally in March, the president complained he endorsed McCain "at his request, gave him the kind of funeral he wanted...but I didn’t get a thank you.”
“I never liked him much,” Trump said. “I really probably never will.”