One prays to the “Eternal Father, strong to save / Whose arm hath bound the restless wave” that The Wall Street Journal has got it horribly wrong. The newspaper reports that the United States Navy, under orders from the White House and with the approval of the acting secretary of defense and the compliance of a chain of naval officers in the Seventh Fleet, did its efficient best to conceal the name John McCain from President Donald Trump’s sight when he recently visited Yokosuka Naval Base.
The ship is under repair, so it could not be moved. But sailors hung a tarp over the ship’s name, and other measures (a strategically positioned barge) helped obscure the offending words. Sailors were told to remove all coverings that might indicate that the ship is the USS John S. McCain. They were, according to the article, given the day off, lest the name John McCain, embroidered on their caps, give offense. On the day of the presidential visit, some of the sailors present wore “Make Aircrew Great Again” patches, with something that resembled Trump’s profile on them. Subsequent stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post amended the Journal’s story somewhat, to include the assertion that naval leadership intervened at the last minute to have the tarp removed. But the basic account remained intact.