White House Rechristens USS John McCain ... F*ck It This Is Pathetic, There's No Joke Here
You might've noticed that Donald Trump and the late John McCain don't get along. Trump has repeatedly mocked and ridiculed McCain, often before receptive crowds at his latest hate rally. But McCain himself is not blameless. After his death last August, McCain failed to properly thank the president for letting him have a funeral. The former senator escalated their feud when Trump visited Japan to deliver Memorial Day remarks to US troops who have sacrificed enough for their country.
The White House issued specific instructions in preparation for Trump's arrival at the USS Wasp. The most important was the following, perfectly rational directive: "USS John McCain needs to be out of sight." A White House official even asked for receipt of pettiness: "Please confirm #3 will be satisfied," they wrote before smashing all the mirrors in their house. Yeah, that pee tape definitely exists.
So, does Trump understand that the USS John McCain is not literally John McCain? The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer bears his name but doesn't contain his spirit like some 1980s paranormal riff on "Knight Rider." Does Trump also know what Memorial Day is even about? It's not just a day spent grilling burgers that Trump would insist are burned to a crisp. McCain didn't die in service but he was permanently injured. If Trump expects NFL players to stand for the national anthem, he can manage to look at an inanimate object that's named after his most hated and deadest enemy.
The USS John McCain is undergoing repairs after a 2017 collision and couldn't be moved from view of the Wasp. However, as a compromise, some poor bastards hung a tarp over the warship's name so President Baby wouldn't see it. Trump is considering the tarp trick for his tax returns, but Maxine Waters probably won't fall for it. Reportedly, sailors from the McCain were excluded from invitations to hear Trump ramble on. Several showed up anyway, dressed in uniform with the McCain's insignia. They were asked to leave like they'd shown up at a country-western bar in skullcaps. Thanks for your service, guys! When Trump visited Yokosuka Naval Base on Tuesday, sailors serving on the McCain were given the day off because they normally wear caps with the ship's name on them. That was apparently the only way to resolve this dilemma.
Trump denies having any involvement with this silliness, and he's always a reliable source. Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan claims he also was shocked that gambling and tarp hanging was going on in this warship. But people working around Trump and trying to manage his psychosis is not a new concept. Who wants to get yelled at for a week because the president saw someone's name on a ship? Trump's aides must think he's a big snowflake. The president might not like McCain but he's still a historical figure. Trump's normally opposed to efforts to "erase history" because you personally find it offensive. Remember his comments defending the "very fine" Nazi-adjacent folks who were protesting the removal of Confederate memorials?
But McCain did vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act, and Ben Carson once claimed the health care law was the "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." The exchange web sites crashed a lot, but was that really worse than separate water fountains? We'll still take McCain, who voted against the King holiday, over Trump's idol, Robert E. Lee.Most everyone agreed that these actions on Trump's apparent behalf were pretty low and beneath the dignity of someone who calls a US Senator "Pocahontas." But "The View" co-host Meghan McCain, who is secretly John McCain's daughter, felt she had to "stand up" to defend her father.
Jesus, even when Megs McCabe is kind of right, she's annoying as fuck. C'mon, girl, Trump is not actually keeping your late father from "resting." He is not doing Tasmanian devil dances from the Beyond. We've also lost a parent, but maybe our grief is less "unbearable" because our mother didn't have any warships to hang tarps on. This whole thing is pathetic yet oddly reassuring. You think people are clumsily obscuring the names of warships in Russia? If Putin hates someone, he probably just has their family poisoned. Meanwhile, our wannabe dictator in chief is starring in a weaker episode of "That's Our Trump!"
John McCain is remembered for enduring abuse significantly greater than Trump's pettiness. We think he's probably laughing right now. Dying well is also pretty good revenge.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.