Сhief of Navy information Rear Adm. Charlie Brown has confirmed in a statement that there was a "request" to the US Navy "to minimise the visibility of USS John S. McCain", but noted that "all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President's visit" when commenting on the recent report of the WSJ.
According to the statement, there were also "no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain".
Social media users have posted controversial remarks on the matter online.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) 30 мая 2019 г.
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) 30 мая 2019 г.
Some activists even have brought a cardboard version of the ship to the White House fence.
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) 30 мая 2019 г.
It remains unknown who made such a request, as both the US President and US Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan denied any involvement in the situation, saying that they were not "aware of the situation".
"I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan", Trump said on Twitter.
Shanahan's spokesman stated that the defence secretary "was not aware of the directive to move the USS John S McCain nor was he aware of the concern precipitating the directive".