John McCain

Pentagon chief to White House: The military "will not be politicized"

In this image, Shanahan stands and speaks behind a podium.
Shanahan at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, May 27. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

In the wake of controversy over a request to move a Navy warship named after Sen. John McCain "out of sight" during President Trump's visit to Japan, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told his chief of staff to send a message to the White House "that the department of defense will not be politicized," AP reports.

Context: Trump, who has maintained a long-running, one-way feud with the late McCain, has denied that he had anything to do with the warship being moved, but added that whoever made the request was "well-meaning." White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that moving the warship was "not an unreasonable thing to do."

Report: White House wanted warship named for John McCain "out of sight" in Japan

USS John McCain
USS John S. McCain after an August 2017 collision. Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

The White House reportedly requested that the U.S. Navy move the warship — named USS John S. McCain for the late senator — "out of sight" during President Trump's state visit to Japan over Memorial Day weekend, per an email obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

The bottom line: It's unclear why the White House wanted the ship to be moved "out of sight," but WSJ reports that the directive resulted from conversations between the White House Military Office and the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was aware of the concern "and approved measures to ensure it didn't interfere with the president's visit."